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Bringing Grandma Home– as told by Rauchelle Nenio-Torres

I first learned of Hospice, when my grandmother was told she had end-stage cancer with days to live. Shortly after receiving that call, I reached out to a friend, who told me about Hospice. Her grandfather-in-law passed the week before. She explained how wonderful the Pōhai Mālama Inpatient Hospice Facility was, the staff’s supportive bedside manner, and the unique accommodations. So, I immediately phoned my mother to tell her and then called to inquire.

My grandmother was stuck on O‘ahu and pleaded to fly home so she could die on her home island amongst family. After speaking with Hospice and the Honolulu Kaiser doctors, grandma was on a plane back the next day, Mother's Day. Grandma was overjoyed and so grateful that Hospice helped her get home to the Big Island. She loved the scenery and privacy of Pōhai Mālama. I will never forget the look on her face, after being served her favorite foods. The staff informed the cook of her favorites and then went out of their way to provide her with fresh sushi and poi. At Pōhai Mālama she was surrounded by her large family. She most enjoyed the large picture window in her room that allowed her to watch her great-grandchildren play in the yard. After she passed, we found out that Honolulu Kaiser told Hospice she would have one day left, after arriving at the care center the Pōhai Mālama magic helped her live for six extra days!

Hospice provided comfort that nobody else could have given her. Her final days were full of laughter, hugs, kisses, and reminiscing. Her heart seemed full of joy, and she was at peace. My grandmother was my best friend – closer to me than anyone else. Every life decision I made, was after getting her advice. So, her death was extremely difficult to accept, because I felt I still needed her.

After grieving and accepting her death, my sister and I discussed Hospice and our experiences. We decided that we wanted to become CNA’s (Certified Nurse Assistants) and work for Hospice. We knew it would be difficult with daily challenges and emotional experiences, but, we felt it was our calling. We enrolled in school and after graduating, I applied and was offered a job to do inpatient support at Pōhai Mālama, and a few months later, a position in home care opened for my sister. It exceeded our expectations. We had found our purpose.

Taira K. Kapahu and Rauchelle Nenio-Torres

I wake up each day with a happier heart, feeling extra thankful. I am now more patient, and open to people, ultimately growing as an individual. We have the opportunity to shower people with kindness, compassion, and love – open-heartedly supporting people who are going through a difficult time. We understand patients’ and families’ reservations, frustrations, and mistrust of strangers. And we know that we have a chance to make a difference in someone's life, by taking time to listen, discuss, comfort, and help. We are honored and proud to be a part of Hospice.

I am grateful that I continued my education and became a CNA. My new goal is to become an RN. Since I work 12-hour shifts in the inpatient facility, I can fit in my studies. I plan to serve as an RN at Hospice, where I can still provide excellent comforting care, but through a broader advocacy role.

We love Hospice for their dedication to listening and honoring patient/family values, concerns, and fears, and then following through, with support from the entire team. Quality of life really matters, and we aim to treat our patients like royalty. We have reached our goal – to be part of this extraordinary work.

Sisters, Best friends & co-workers who love Hospice ... Rauchelle Nenio-Torres and Taira Kapahu

Pōhai Mālama a Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Care Center


Hawai‘i Care Choices is so grateful for its dedicated staff who, each day, directly or indirectly work to provide patients and their families the amazing gift of time. The hospice and palliative model of care means staff work tirelessly to make a meaningful difference, continually open their hearts through a high-touch approach that walks alongside patients and families during difficult journeys. When Big Island residents end up in a hospital on O‘ahu, they often are too sick to come home, where their heart desires to be. No one should have to go off island, leaving their loved ones and the community they know, to receive quality care when chronically or seriously ill.

Transitional, short-term care at our Pōhai Mālama a Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Care Center may be an option when:

· patient needs are too complicated and require a higher level of support than can be given at home, or in other settings;

· or a caregiver needs short-term respite from the 24/7 needs of supporting their loved one

Call (808) 969-1733 to learn more.

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