The Bristol Homecare and Hospice Agency honored a local family on Monday for the special care they provided a loved one who was in home hospice late last year.
“The reason I do this job is for people like you,” Julie Markus, hospice case manager, said to the family of 57-year-old Michael Gullotta.
Gollotta, of Terryville, was a patient of the Bristol Homecare and Hospice Agency before he passed away last December. His family was honored during a ceremony Monday at Bristol Hospital, where they were given the First Light recognition - which has been given out for about 20 years.
The recognition is always given out before the hospital’s Lights of Love campaign, which collects donations for hospice and palliative care programs to assist those in need of them.
“I could not have found a more dedicated wife and family,” Markus said.
Gullotta’s wife, Christine, always had alarms set to make sure her husband never missed his medication and she always voiced concerns when she saw the slightest change in his condition, Markus continued.
“Families like you are the only reason home hospice can exist,” Markus said.
“Working with you was a true honor.”
Despite the recognition being about Gullotta’s family, several family members spoke about the dedicated care that hospice staff gave Michael.
Michael Gullotta Jr. said he never overlooked the importance of simply having someone to talk to. He said it gave his family peace of mind to know that someone cared for his father as much as they did.
Michael Gullotta Jr. referred to his father as a “gentle giant,” one who always made his family a priority. That way of thinking made it so special for him to live out his days at home with the people who meant the most to him, the son continued.
“I appreciate everything you guys have done for us,” Michael Gullotta Jr. said to a room full of nurses and volunteers who provided care to his father.
Donna Marrero, director and clinical coordinator of the Homecare and Hospice Agency, said Gullotta’s family took care of him “so dearly and wonderfully” that they were the perfect choice for the recognition they received Monday.
Hospice care, Marrero said, is “about living the rest of your days to the best quality you can.”
Gullotta’s family ensured he was able to do that, she said.