A Small Home Makes aBigDifference THE HOUSE AT 65 CHILTON STREET looks much like the other homes in this quiet, residential area of Cambridge’s Huron Village. But, in the past 17 years, over 2,000 people have been touched by the caring community within its walls. Hospice of Cambridge, now part of VNA Care Network & Hospice, had brought life-affirming care into terminally ill patients’ homes for many years when the idea for Chilton House formed. Hospice helps the terminally ill and their loved ones focus on living as fully as possible by providing a combination of physical, emotional, practical, and spiritual support. Such care allows most patients to live at home during much or all of their illness. Yet there was no homelike place for hospice patients who could not live at home because their family needed to work, they had no loved ones to help with their care, or their needs were too complex to be met at home. The nonprofit agency envisioned a place where Cambridge area residents could live their final days with dignity and in comfortable surroundings. The Hospice of Cambridge Development Committee, a group of volunteers dedicated to supporting the availability of compassionate care for the terminally ill, worked tirelessly to help Hospice of Cambridge achieve its dream. Chilton House opened in 1991 as the first residential hospice in Massachusetts. Over the years, the converted two-family residence has been called home by individuals from all racial, social, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. The hospice team (nurses, social workers, trained volunteers, home health aides, and pastoral and bereavement counselors) cares for patients and their loved ones with an emphasis on pain and symptom management for patients. Registered dietitians, rehabilitation therapists, and clinical specialists are available if needed. Bereavement counseling and support are also offered to family members for up to one year after they experience the loss of a loved one. Chilton House has served as a model and inspiration for other residential hospices in New England. Staff help make each unique experience positive and life affirming in surroundings that feel like home. As Chilton House approaches two decades of serving the community, VNA Care Network & Hospice wants to ensure the residence continues to bring comfort to those coping with terminal illnesses such as cancer, pulmonary disease, cardiac disease, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS. The agency, with the support of the Hospice of Cambridge Development Committee, is embarking on a $1.8 million capital campaign to repair and renovate the home as well as establish a patient care fund for those in need. You can help make our vision for compassionate end-of-life care in Cambridge a reality once again by making a generous gift to the Chilton House Capital Campaign.
H E L P I N G F A M I L I E S Even after her mother, Mary Mittell, lost the ability to speak, Janet (Jan) Kinasewich knew Mary was happy at Chilton House. The preceding years had been difficult. Mary was in her mid-80s, lived alone, and began having problems with her memory and day-to-day tasks. No matter what Jan and her brother tried, Mary’s condition continued deteriorating. Jan said, “She was so unhappy, it was agony to see.” Jan moved her mother to Chilton House. Jan was well acquainted with the residence and its staff. She began volunteering for the Hospice of Cambridge Development Committee in the early 1990s raising funds in support of care for the terminally ill at Chilton House and the community. Mary had a room overlooking the garden. She determined her own schedule — sleeping late, having breakfast, or napping when she wanted. “The home is geared to patients, not the staff or the institution,” said Jan. Mary particularly enjoyed being in the living room, the center of social activity at Chilton. She could see people coming and going and be with staff, volunteers, and other patients. Jan recalled parties in the evenings, visits from Mary’s grandchildren, and cookouts organized by a volunteer. Jan said, “The quality of community was so wonderful.” The homelike environment and extraordinary care from the staff and volunteers were just what Mary needed. She thrived at Chilton because the staff, said Jan, “think far beyond their job descriptions. They think about the person and what the person needs.” Even when Mary could no longer speak, she would watch the activity and smile. Mary’s time at Chilton, said Jan, were the “happiest months of her life in her last five years by far.” JanetKinasewich