Strong Relationships Save Lives for Melissa and Crystal

We know that relationships can be life-giving, but sometimes they’re life-saving.

That was the case for Melissa Barnard after doctors placed her on hospice care following a hospitalization.

Their diagnosis: failure to thrive.

Melissa requires full care and has multiple, ongoing health concerns. Staff at Mosaic in Pontiac (Illinois) know to watch for any small signs that something is amiss. Maybe something that usually makes her laugh does not. Or her appetite may not be as strong as it should be.

It was pneumonia that landed Melissa in the hospital. She’d also had hospitalizations for gastrointestinal bleeding and dehydration. Every time, Mosaic staff went to the hospital regularly to check on her and to feed her, knowing she doesn’t always respond well to strangers.

When she was placed on hospice, staff redoubled their efforts, trying different things to get her to eat and drink. They were persistent. Staff changed her meal schedule so she wasn’t distracted by others in the home. They used music to help her remain calm. If one person couldn’t get her to eat or drink, another would try. 

Slowly, Melissa gained weight. Each pound was a celebration. She became healthy enough to be taken off hospice care.

This is a great example of data recently shared by Mosaic and The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) about the correlation between health and relationships; stronger relationships bring about better health. Staff members know and care about Melissa. She’s not a patient to care for, she’s a person to know and love. 

A strong relationship with her Mosaic at Home provider helped Crystal Brannan at Mosaic in Western Iowa achieve some dramatic health results. Not only did she lose more than 65 pounds in 18 months, but she was also able to reduce the number of medications she takes from 13 to five.

“She’s just a different girl now, both in looks and in actions,” said Patti Stevens, Crystal’s Mosaic at Home provider.

Because of her lifestyle changes, a whole new world of activities has opened up for Crystal. She now spends time outside and has even learned how to fish.

“I can walk; I can ride a bike up the hill now,” Crystal said. “I don’t snore anymore!”

Crystal’s emotional well-being has strengthened as well. Crystal will admit she can have a short fuse, getting upset when things don’t go her way. Even something as simple as a store being out of an item she wanted could cause a “blow up,” Patti said. 

But now?

“I have to walk away,” Crystal said. “I talk to her when I’m upset.”

Being included – being in life-giving relationships with others – makes all the difference in our lives.

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