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End-of-life Care in a Home Environment | Villa Teresa

MAIN LM Villa Teresa

By
Steve Gamel
|
Photos by Dallas McNeal
Photography

Caitlin Coppler was a little girl
when her grandfather Harold passed away in 1993 after a lengthy battle with
lymphoma.
Too young to understand the gravity of what was happening
in the days leading up to his death, she remembers playing in the front room
while her family said their goodbyes in another part of the house. When
someone asked her to join them for the briefest of moments, she came bouncing
down the hallway — happy and unaware as could be — and couldn’t help but
notice everyone’s faces drop from sheer sadness.

“It’s a core memory for me. I was this kid
bouncing down the hall, and everyone around me was so sad. It just hit me,”
Coppler said. “He was in so much pain when he died, and looking back, my
family didn’t know how to care for him in those final
moments.”

Coppler and her family have had many
emotional goodbyes in the years since, including her beloved grandmother Jane
(“Gram”) in 2010. And in the years since, she learned that so many families
like hers often find themselves juggling their insurmountable grief with the
responsibilities and stress of either learning to be a primary caregiver for
those final weeks and months or relying on the larger and less personal
institutional settings of nursing homes and hospitals. Thankfully, Gram
received end-of-life care through an Omega Home in Oklahoma, completely
transforming her last days and the grieving process for herself and her loved
ones. Coppler hopes to replicate that model of care with her future comfort
care home in Rockwall called Villa Teresa. Though not yet open, it is
heralded for providing a home-like
environment with various
holistic end-of-life support and
activities for future residents and families.

“People
don’t understand the amount
of stress and hard work that goes
into caregiving until they do it,” Coppler said. She is a patient care
advocate in hospice and believes that truth and education about end-of-life
is the key to healthy grieving. “Our goal is to give them back their role in
the family. If they are the daughter, they are the daughter — not the
caregiver.”

LM Villa Teresa

Compassionate End-of-Life
Care

Villa Teresa, a member of the Omega Home
Network, is a future 501(c)(3) community-based social model for high-level
yet peaceful and dignified end-of-life care provided in a smaller home away
from home for people who are unable or do not wish to spend their final days
in their own homes. A social model home for the dying is an uncommon setting
for hospice care in Texas. However, the number of homes like these across the
country is growing as health officials look for ways to provide a caring
environment to individuals with terminal illnesses who are enrolled in a
hospice program but would otherwise spend their last days alone or in
undesirable conditions.

In the Rockwall community, institutional care
is currently the only option if a person has no available or able caregivers
or their living environment cannot support their special needs at life’s end.
None of the more than 350 DFW-area hospice providers offer a place to live in
or near Rockwall County designed explicitly for residential care in the final
weeks and days of life. Villa Teresa changes the game while also reducing
hospice caregiver stress and fatigue and eliminating the potential for
back-and-forth relocations.

Guest Care will be provided by family
members, volunteers, and paid caregivers in collaboration with medical
hospice providers currently serving Rockwall County. Working with hospice
providers without duplicating services, Villa Teresa will feature free
around-the-clock care and presence in the areas of medication management,
home-cooked meals, laundry, housekeeping,
help with personal hygiene and
grooming, entertainment,
companionship, and meaningful activities that support the dying resident and
their loved ones through the transitional stages of dying. At least
initially, Coppler said they would start operations with a capacity of three
guests with plans for future expansion, either at the same site or by moving
to a larger home. Projected referrals from local hospitals, physicians, and
hospice agencies should allow the house to maintain an 80% occupancy rate
with an anticipated 5-14 days of stay.

VT Event Crowd picture

Generous
Funding When It Matters

Coppler is one of five board members for
Villa Teresa and estimates that their housing and services will run at $375
per day, or around $11,250 per month, for each guest. To ensure free care for
guests and their families, Villa Teresa relies solely on generous donors to
fund everything they do.

This includes grants, foundations, corporate giving, in-kind gifts,
memorials, planned giving, donations of appreciated stock, fundraising
events, volunteer support, and more. A minimum of $200,000 is needed to
secure a home — the first of three stages in an ongoing capital campaign. On
June 25, they held a benefit reception and concert with music by Timlightyear
at Siren Rock Brewing Company.

The event, which pulled in 165 guests,
generated over $28,000.

“It was beyond what I thought it would be –
definitely a full house. It’s incredible to have the support from so many and
something I’ve been talking about for 13 years take shape and an effort
people want to see succeed,” Coppler said. “It is the most difficult thing
I’ve had to do, but it’s important. I’ll be so grateful when we are able to
welcome our first guest.”

Villa
Teresa Services

  • Comfort
    companions
  • Spiritual
    support
  • Pet
    visitors
  • Supportive
    care
  • 24-7
    compassionate care
  • Personal
    care (bathing, toileting, dressing, eating)
  • Meal
    preparation
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping
  • Symptom
    management
  • Disease
    progression education
  • Collaboration with hospice provider of
    choice

Villa
Teresa

709 West Rusk Street, Suite B #805

Rockwall, Texas 75087

(972)
948-2574

VillaTeresaHome.org


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