Real-Life Story–Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) Hospice

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Beverly Kitzinger was a woman with incredible faith and undeniable strength. The mother of five children, she was also an accomplished elementary school teacher, who taught in the Montgomery County school system for 27 years while raising her family.

While her husband, Joe, was a devout Catholic, who raised all of their children Catholic, Beverly always found strength and solace in her beliefs as a Christian Scientist. That strength was both tested and proved when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It was very difficult for my mother to go through with the surgery to remove the tumor, since Christian Scientists do not believe in disease or illness,” explained one of Beverly’s daughters, Patricia “Patty” Inman. “As part of their faith, they do not take medicine or seek modern medical treatments; they simply pray through illness.”

Herself a breast cancer survivor, Patty helped convince her mother to have the surgery to remove the tumor. Beverly came through the surgery and went on to become the caregiver for her beloved husband. After her husband passed away, she was just beginning to acclimate to her new life when she broke her arm and learned that her breast cancer had metastasized to her bones.

“My mother’s faith gave her incredible strength, and we were able to manage her considerable pain for months with just low doses of pain reliever,” Patty recalled. However, when Beverly began to experience more extreme pain from the bone cancer, the family decided to turn to hospice services for help.

“I asked a dear friend who is a home care nurse for a recommendation, and she suggested Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) Hospice,” Patty explained. JSSA, a Montgomery County hospice provider for more than 30 years, began working with the family shortly thereafter and remained in the home until Beverly passed away five months later.

A social worker with JSSA coordinated all of Beverly’s care, ensuring that all her physical, emotional and spiritual needs were met. They also made sure to check in on all the family members and provide support when it was needed, as well as constant updates on Beverly’s condition.

“Everyone with JSSA was wonderful. My mom absolutely loved them. They were so kind and patient and gentle with her. She appreciated what they did and acknowledged their help and welcomed their support and care,” said Patty.

The JSSA team included a nurse, an occupational therapist and a chaplain, in addition to the social worker. They all worked with Beverly’s in-home caregivers and her doctors to ensure that her pain was managed and that she was able to remain in her home surrounded by family.

“Because of JSSA, my mother was able to enjoy the remainder of her life pain free,” Patty concluded. “Our family was her life and for her to be able to remain at home and not be in a sterile hospital environment was so important.”

Published: April 2014

Posted in: Hospice

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