Kaua`i Hospice first introduced Willa Wrap® on the island of Kaua`i during the Fall of 2012. Participating families are benefiting by receiving a measure of peace and comfort in their grief and a dignified memory of their loved one. Willa Wrap® is an end-of-life chinwrap used to secure a closed mouth for your loved one after they have died, maintaining dignity and a peaceful appearance, promoting comforting memories. The majority of people die with their mouth open and one of the most common questions hospice nurses are asked is: “Can you please close the mouth of our loved one?” Prior to Willa Wrap®, there wasn’t an effective solution.
The creator of Willa Wrap® is Kaua`i Hospice nurse, Kathrin Reams, RN. Lori Miller, Kaua`i Hospice Executive Director, embraced Willa Wrap®. “I was excited for Kaua`i Hospice to embark on this trial project as it helps us meet our objectives of a special kind of caring with emphasis on dignity.”
Yvonne Lawrence, Kaua`i Hospice nurse, expressed her thoughts on the website video: “Patients trust us, they trust us to take care of them prior to their dying, during their dying and they trust us to take care of their body with utmost dignity and respect. Willa Wrap® is an exceptional product that I am glad Kathy has brought to us.”
Kathrin values the wonderful people who have helped her develop and share Willa Wrap® with others. Mary Wall, RNC, is one of those special people. Mary is a Kaua`i Hospice volunteer, who is also a consultant for hospices on the mainland. Mary is introducing Willa Wrap® to hospices in Colorado this month. In Mary’s words, “As a breast cancer survivor, my life is now all about giving back.”
Here in Kathrin’s own words is “The Willa Wrap® Story.”
“I had the honor and privilege of caring for my Mom, Willa, during her dying journey. Between September 2, 2010 and October 2, 2010, Mom experienced many ‘soft days’ of comfort, peace and dignity. However, due to progressive muscle weakness, she was embarrassed and distressed knowing she was sleeping with her mouth wide open. One evening, while tucking my Mom into bed, she had an idea to loop a piece of stretchy fabric under her chin and over her head, to help keep her mouth gently closed. This simple solution gave her peace of mind and prevented her jaw from locking into an open position. The wrap supported my Mom even as she took her final breaths. After Mom died, my Dad removed the wrap and Mom’s jaw dropped wide open. Dad looked at me and said, ‘I should leave this on, eh?’ Amidst my tears and fresh grief, I was awestruck by the simple solution to a post death problem I had always encountered as a hospice nurse – the loss of dignity related to the inability to close the patients mouth after death. With the Willa Wrap® back on, Mom’s mouth remained closed, her expression peaceful & dignified. Willa Wrap® is named in the memory and honor of my Mom Willa. It is her legacy. Willa Wrap® is one of the final gifts you can give your loved one – the gift of dignity.”