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‘Why I give’: Pam Hutul Ross

After my mother, Dolly Hutul, had experienced her second bad fall, I came to JourneyCare asking for palliative care to see if they could give our family ideas on how to get her going again.

But after their evaluation, the clinical team called me and my brother, Jonathan, into the room to explain that she was ready for hospice. We were shocked at the news, but they gave us wonderful support and helped us over that very difficult step of accepting that this was her final journey.

Their goal, they said, was to help her live fully for as much time as she had. So this not only honored my mom, but it honored us.

Dolly Hutul

My mother was being cared for at Warren Barr Gold Coast rehab facility in Chicago, and JourneyCare was able to care for her at the place she ultimately called home. This was especially important not only to keep her in the same environment, but so I could easily continue to visit her from my home nearby.

Mom’s JourneyCare team was able to coordinate care extremely well with the staff at Warren Barr, and I felt extra comfort knowing that she had this new level of support. Hospice care made both of our lives better, because it helped alleviate my worries, too.

Immediately after her care began, my mom’s day-today situation improved thanks to changes like a medication assessment that ensured she was on the best prescriptions for her condition, as well as safety precautions like padding on the floor to prevent falls.

As part of her care, volunteer Paul Witt visited my mother each week and they developed a true bond. Paul got her talking about her childhood and then he would go to the places they spoke about and bring photos to her of each locale. He was also an artist and, during their visits, he would paint watercolors of the places they talked about. Their relationship honestly changed her life.

Even after my Mom died, JourneyCare continued to touch my world. A family friend lost her mother, and my friend’s young daughter, Rebecca, struggled with a lot of grief after the death of her grandmother. I referred their family to JourneyCare’s bereavement camps for children and teens, and they took such wonderful care of Rebecca. It was a great experience for her.

I know first-hand how wonderful the service is, and that’s why I choose to support JourneyCare. The integrity of this organization is so impressive. I especially appreciate how the care teams work with both the patients and their families – it’s a multi-dimensional approach that is important.

And now that JourneyCare covers 10 counties that include the Chicago region and northern Illinois, it’s more important than ever to make sure this care is available to all families who need it. I see what JourneyCare does on so many levels as being positive, and I’m definitely pleased to contribute.


– As told to Elisabeth Mistretta, JourneyCare Content Specialist
Originally published in Together to Care, Spring 2016