‘Here with my family’: How a home-care non-profit is helping dying patients

A non-profit organization that specializes in home care is celebrating after getting a $1.2 million investment from the Quebec government.

Nova Home Care says the new money will help hundreds of vulnerable Montrealers get health services in the comfort of their own homes.

Al Manjothi is one of them. The man in his 80s has terminal lung cancer, but is staying in good spirits. A big reason for that is being able to live his final days surrounded by his family in his own space.

“I’m here with my family, eating home cooking and everything,” Manjothi told Global News.

He got a visit from Nova nurse Paula Habib on Wednesday, who checks his oxygen levels and drains fluid from his lungs.

“I told him ‘Dad, you know, you’re dying. You have aggressive lung cancer. It’s in your bones. It’s in your lymph nodes,’” said one of Manjothi’s three daughters, Saira Hopper. “His response was ‘So what? I want to go see my friends.’”

Local health authorities have set him up with oxygen, which he needs constantly. They even delivered a hospital bed.

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Manjothi’s daughters are by his side around the clock.

“We have a day shift and a night shift,” Hopper explained.

They need respite, and that’s where Nova comes in.

Habib works for the non-profit, which is now providing Manjothi with twelve hours of home care per week.

“By giving these extra hours, it’s not a burden for the family,” said Habib.

Nova’s team of 25, helps support about 1,000 people per year. As the population ages demand has gone up, but funding for the organization fueled by donors has gone down.

“Since the pandemic, the donations were not enough to pay for services,” said Anne-Sophie Schlader, Nova Home Care’s executive director.

She was worried they’d have to cut services, but felt relief after the provincial government announced it’s chipping in $1.2 million dollars to support Nova.

“This is in line with the government’s desire to extend access to palliative care while improving access to home care,” said Sonia Bélanger, Quebec’s Minister Responsible for Seniors in an interview with Global News.  “Demand is high, and the considerable contribution made by organizations like Nova plays a vital role for the population.”

With the extra money, the organization will be able to help hundreds of Montreal patients stay out overcrowded hospitals.

“We’re there to make sure the patients and families have enough services so they can stay at home,” said Schlader.

Manjothi worked 60 years as a mechanic. His daughter even got a tattoo of a wrench in his honour.

“He’s such a great guy,” said Hopper.  “My dad said, ‘It’s like these angels have appeared’ to really help keep him comfortable in his final days.”

Though it’s a tough time, they’re grateful he can stay comfortably at home until the end.


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