Afraid and hesitant…Often, that is the first reaction that most caregivers show when they hear the word “hospice” and Penny Madamba was no exception. She was attending a community presentation where Lani Weigert, the Engagement Marketing Manager of Hawai'i Care Choices, was explaining about the hospice benefits and programs. Lani shared how hospice helped her and her late mother, and how hospice helps not just the patient, but also the caregivers as well. When Penny heard that choosing hospice wasn’t “giving up”, but rather, “improving the quality of life” for her loved one, she decided that she needed to find out more. Edward R. Madamba, her husband, was going through stages of aging and struggling with dementia, heart murmur, and other illnesses. She knew she would soon need help. After learning that care could be provided in the comfort of their home, she immediately reached out to Hawai'i Care Choices.
When Penny called hospice, she couldn’t believe how efficient and fast the process was. Within few days, a team of Hawai'i Care Choices nurses, certified nurse aides (CNA), social worker, spiritual counselor, and other staff showed up to their home along with a hospital bed and other medical equipment. As the team introduced themselves, Edward’s face lit up when he heard that CNA Justin, was also from Kauaʻi where Edward was originally from. The two shared about their favorite eatery and places back at Kauaʻi, and a connection was built right away.
Penny was amazed at how easily each staff communicated with her husband and helped him feel comfortable despite his reserved personality. From then on, Edward and Penny had a full round of staff – the “A-Team” they would call it – that they can reach out to. Whether it was early in the morning or late at night, Penny would make a call and a professional staff would guide her over the phone or even make an in-person visit if needed. She said, “If I called, I was directly connected to a CNA or a nurse. It was different to have an entire team support me. I was never a nurse, but I was taught how to use each equipment, administer morphine (if necessary), and many other things. Instead of being at an ER waiting for a hospital bed, my husband was at ease in the comfort of his home when Hawai'i Care Choices team came to care for him. It was so great for both of us to be able to stay at home.”
Several weeks passed, and Penny saw that her husband was declining. She called CNA Justin and asked if he could come help clean Edward before their son arrived. Although Justin had a full schedule, he worked to switch things around and came in time to give Edward a bath before he met his son. On June 21, 2023, after Edward got to spend his last hours with his son and his wife, he peacefully passed away.
Looking back at their 36 years of marriage, Penny shared how thankful she was to be able to say that her life with Edward was memorable and wonderful. Currently, Penny is receiving bereavement support from Hawai'i Care Choices as they help her through her grief. “Edward knew I would be okay afterwards, not a wreck. He believed I was in good hands,” she said. She continues to share with her friends and families of her wonderful experience with Hawai'i Care Choices and now advocates for hospice care.