Unique Hospice Helps Patients End Their Lives with Dignity
Charles Vialotti, Medical Director, and Terrie O’Conner, Advisory Board Member of Villa Marie Claire Residential Hospice, share their unique approach to hospice care by helping patients finish their lives with dignity.
"We are pleased to welcome two very special people. First, Dr. Charles Vialotti, who is Medical Director, Villa Marie Claire Residential Hospice at Holy Name Medical Center, and also, Terrie O'Connor, who is Advisory Board Member at Villa Marie Claire. Good to have you both with us. We're glad to be here. Thank you. Doctor, someone asks what is Villa Marie Claire? And our good friend, Mike Maron, the CEO up there, has told us offline, but what is it? Villa Marie Claire is a, officially, just a residential hospice. But it... what it really is is an opportunity to embrace residents and their families in a unit of care where we can provide the resident with life with dignity and family with the support and the nurturing and the love that they need to help them through this very difficult phase of their loved one's life. Terrie? How did you get involved in this, Terrie? Well, actually I have to say, Mike Maron got me involved. Mike called and asked if I would get involved when they were doing the initial kind of plans for opening the Villa Marie Claire as a hospice, and I was kind of local and it was being, you know, changed to this new mission. And I have to say, I was so impressed that he introduced me to Charlie. Mm hmm. And that was the beginning of a friendship that has been going on now for seven or eight years. But a personal connection? A personal connection. But through Mike Maron, and I believe that my own personal experience with the Villa was when my sister was there. And she had been fighting ovarian cancer for ten years. And she was at a hospice in the city. She and her children and husband were reluctant to move her. And I said, "Please, why don't you try bringing her to the Villa? She'd be at home in New Jersey." And Margaret was there with you and me and all the family for about a week before she passed away. And it was a wonderful experience for her and for all of her family. Her mom, and... So I have a personal experience with the Villa. I've had many friends who have gone there. I remember a friend of mine who's Jewish. And because the Villa Marie Claire had been a, you know, part of Holy Name and a Catholic organization for so long, she called me and said, "I understand I've heard very good things about the Villa, but my mom is Jewish and I don't know whether it's something that we could do for her. But she needs hospice." And I said, "I'm sure there's no..."