Three mother-and-daughter combinations work as nurses at Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice in Lewiston. They all credit director Karen Flynn, left, as one of the reasons they enjoy their work. Mother-and-daughter combinations from right are: Angela Bolden and her daughter, Shanna Teague; Karen Madore and her daughter, Karri Gallant; and Tammy Bean and her daughter, Nicole Martin. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Angie Bolden was 19 and in nursing school when she befriended a 23-year-old dying of testicular cancer in the hospital. Family didn’t come by much, so she’d visit and play cards after school.

“He died screaming in pain, no family, everybody afraid to medicate him,” Bolden said. “I thought, ‘Boy, that is not going to happen on my watch.'”

She became a hospice nurse. Years later, so did her daughter, Shanna.

In her nursing home, Tammy Bean was the home health aide others would barter with to avoid their dying patient.

“People there were so uncomfortable with death and I wasn’t,” Bean said. “‘I’ll take three of your patients if you’ll take so-and-so down at the end of the hall,’ and I would graciously do it. That is my niche. I’ve tried other jobs. This is where I belong.”

She became a hospice nurse. Years later, so did her daughter, Nicole.

Karen Madore mentioned to a nursing home supervisor that she’d like to be a hospice nurse someday and hours later, the supervisor reached out to Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice to set up an interview on her behalf.

She became a hospice nurse. Years later, so did her daughter, Karri.

Against long odds, Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice has six mother-daughter nurses on its staff of about 30 nurses who visit patients at their homes.

“In my 30 years at our hospice, this is a first,” said Karen Flynn, Androscoggin’s director of hospice and palliative care.

Bean, from Sumner, started first, in 2004. Her daughter, Nicole Martin from Norway, joined her seven years ago.

Bolden, from Lewiston, and Madore, from Auburn, both started in 2014. Their daughters, Shanna Teague from Lewiston and Karri Gallant from Auburn, started in the last few years.

Martin also decided after hospice training in nursing school that she’d come back to that.

“It was a really good experience going into people’s homes and seeing them in their own element, not in a structured building,” she said.

Gallant had been in a surgical office for nine years and felt like she was becoming more secretary than nurse, making calls and filling out insurance paperwork, when her mom suggested the change.

“A lot of people were asking, ‘Why would you want to do that?'” Gallant said. “Everybody needs nursing care, from your beginning. I like being able to have patients at home, surrounded by their loved ones, comfortable, and they are so grateful.”

Part of mom Karen’s philosophy: “We’re not there to catch the babies, but we’re there to help them leave. I couldn’t do the catch-the-baby thing, I know I’m not an OB nurse.”

Flynn said their hospice jobs can have a quick patient turn. About half see the nurses for only two weeks before dying.

“It’s hard to understand how you can deal with cumulative death,” Flynn said. “I think that long ago in hospice we decided that you have to fall in love with patients knowing that you’re going to say goodbye. That’s why people remember your face, because there was love there.”

The nurses visit anywhere from once to several times a week, touching base with the patient and families on symptoms, managing medicine and ordering supplies, as well as talking about emotional and spiritual health.

“It’s a wide variety of what we do for them, from ‘Did you poop today?’, which is a big thing in hospice, to ‘What’s your pain from zero to 10? Is your nausea controlled? Is this medication meeting your needs?'” said Bolden. “It’s their bus, they’re driving it, we’re along for the ride, so you tell us what you want.”

She once had a family present her with a plaque making her an honorary member of the family after caring for their son for just two weeks. He had a disease attacking his brain. She supported and educated them through it.

“You just go in there,” Bolden said. “Those are moments that you cannot get in any other type of nursing.”

Her daughter, Teague, became a hospice nurse after meeting Flynn in the intensive care unit at St. Mary’s.

Flynn was very sick. Teague was one of her nurses.

“She had a magnificent way of making me feel better when I went in there,” Teague said. Flynn played calming music and complimented her skills. They talked work. “She gave me such an appreciation for nursing that I’d started to forget in my 10 years.”

Teague was in a waiting room not too long ago when a man approached asking if she recognized him. It turned out that she had been at his grandmother’s house when she died.

“He was like, ‘I want you to meet my daughter, she was born that night and we named her after her,'” Teague said. “The fact that God gave me that moment to meet this baby and be a part of this, and this man thanked me, and to be able to share his kind words about all that we did for him, it was beautiful. Life continues.”

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