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Patient Stories

Kaplan House Helps Young Woman Accomplish Her Goal

Imagine you’re 28: a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and New York University, PhD candidate at Boston College, avid rock climber and horseback rider, lover of language and the written word. And then you receive the news that the breast cancer you have battled for three years has returned and spread to your liver, bones, and ultimately to your brain.

This would crush most of us, but the indomitable Kiara Kharpertian of Newton didn’t skip a beat for the next three years. She remained steadfast and committed to her goals, continuing on with her research and PhD dissertation. She married her sweetheart, Kai, and enjoyed every second of life.

But then, earlier this year, as her disease and symptoms progressed and her medical needs became more than could be managed at home, Kiara turned to Care Dimensions and the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers. “Kiara needed hospital-level care, but she didn’t want to be in a hospital atmosphere,” said Zoe Kharpertian, Kiara’s mother.

For four months Kaplan House became her home. She set up her desk and computer so she could continue to write her book, invited friends over for study sessions in the library, and enjoyed the benefits of massage, Reiki, music and pet therapy visits. She was adamant that she was going to finish her book and appreciated the clinical team’s expertise in balancing relief from her pain and symptoms with keeping her mentally alert enough to do what she loved – thinking and writing about literature and ideas.

No matter what a patient’s age or diagnosis, hospice care is about making each day count and focusing on quality of life. Each patient’s hospice experience is unique and Care Dimensions’ care teams – which include a physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain, hospice aide and volunteer – work with patients and families to provide individualized physical, emotional and spiritual support to meet their specific needs. For Kiara, self-determination and control was essential, and in conversations with Care Dimensions’ Chaplain Pam Colleran she expressed her desire for a “Living Memorial Service.” She wanted to bring together the significant people in her life and participate in this important life-affirming activity. Pam and the other staff at Kaplan House made it happen. Surrounded by family, friends, professors and mentors on a sunny June day in the gazebo behind Kaplan House, Kiara laughed as they recounted fun-filled memories, stories of how they’d met and what kept them close.

A few weeks later, Kiara died, surrounded by her entire family. “It was an extremely precious and personal time, but one that was made peaceful and comfortable by the team who not only cared for her, but cared for her family too,” said her mother. “Kiara lived her final months on her terms; and she left an indelible mark on all who knew her.”

Please donate to our annual fund in honor of Kiara and to support patients and families facing one of the most challenging times in their life.

Additional Stories

Years Later, Appreciation Remains for Compassionate Care at Kaplan

For Diana Reintges, it has been nearly a decade since her longtime partner Bobby Seibel was on hospice. While her journey was filled with times of sadness, the support she received still resonates with her today.

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Family Matters: Devoted Siblings Thankful for Mom’s Hospice Care

A grateful family appreciates the dignity and support that their mother received during nine months of hospice care at home.

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Peace & Comfort at Care Dimensions Hospice House for US Navy Veteran and Family

The Care Dimensions Hospice House is a peaceful place offering 24/7 clinical support for the patient. That allows families to spend quality time with their loved one.

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Anyone—patient, family, care provider—can make a referral. Fill in the form online or call us today.

Since 1978, Care Dimensions, formerly Hospice of the North Shore,  has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in over 100 communities in Massachusetts.

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