Ask anyone who knows Hospice patient Eileen Bayles, and their face instantly breaks into a smile. They use adjectives such as “amazing,” “wonderful,” and “inspiring” when talking about the longtime Frederick County resident.
Indeed, her spirits are almost always high, despite the news received just a few weeks before her 92 birthday party that treatment options had run out for her colorectal cancer. Ultimately, she and her doctor decided that her care should change from cure-driven to comfort-based for the remaining months of her life.
It was at that time that she started getting support from Hospice of Frederick County. A Hospice nurse, aides, social workers and volunteers visit with and assist Mrs. Bayles, providing individualized care in support of the care she receives at Homewood.
“The goal is to improve her quality of life, and to look at her individually to see what we can do to make each and every day work for her,” says Hospice social worker Brienne H. Superczynski.
Hospice supports Mrs. Bayles’ need to be social by nurturing her desire to be around others. A Hospice volunteer visits with her often to give her one-on-one attention and care, such as going for walks or painting her nails.
“I participate in so many activities because it keeps me healthy, and I enjoy myself,” Mrs. Bayles says. “I like people."
It’s this social time that keeps her happy, according to Superczynski.
Mrs. Bayles knows that she’s near the end of her life, and though that does make her sad, she is not worried.
Sometimes she feels sad about her illness stopping her from being able to do the things she likes to do. And when that happens, Hospice supports her by “doing the little things I can’t do for myself.”
“They keep me company, visit with me… They cheer me up when I’ve been down.”
But usually, it’s Mrs. Bayles that does the cheering up.
“A lot of people tell me that I have been inspirational to them in learning to deal with cancer,” she says. “I take life day by day and have a positive attitude… I have faith that whatever comes, I can take care of it.”