A model ending
Shortly after retiring in 2000 as president of toy maker giant Mattel, where he spent 22 years, Ned Mansour became the caretaker of Mattel executive Joe McKay. Mansour’s friend had been diagnosed with colon cancer. For six months, Mansour drove McKay to medical appointments at UCLA and ran errands for him.
McKay was divorced and didn’t want to share the severity of his condition with his three adult children. When it became evident that McKay’s disease was terminal, Mansour began researching hospice services and discovered Providence TrinityCare Hospice.
TrinityCare subsequently began caring for McKay. During a vigil in McKay’s home, when it was apparent his end was near, Mansour took a short walk on the beach so McKay’s family could could be alone with him. When Mansour returned, McKay had passed away.
Mansour was so moved by the the compassionate care that McKay received under hospice that he decided to devote his time to Providence TrinityCare Hospice.
He served on the TrinityCare board from 2001 to 2006, then returned in 2011 to chair the board.
Mansour’s Lebanese parents moved their family, including Mansour’s two brothers to the United States when he was seven years old.
“My mother died in March at the age of 90, from complications of pneumonia. She was under the compassionate care of TrinityCare Hospice at the end,” Mansour said. His father passed away five years ago, also under TrinityCare.
His father-in-law, who was also named Joe, was not so fortunate. He lived in a nursing home for the final 16 years of his life.
“I always say, ‘Whatever I do for hospice, I’m doing for the two Joes: the one who received hospice care and the other who didnot,’” said Mansour.
Earlier this year, a couple who are longtime friends of Mansour turned to him for advice when they found out that the husband had a life threatening disease. Mansour referred them Providence TrinityCare Hospice. After her husband passed away, the wife participated in TrinityCare’s Gathering Place grief support group.
“We made a family decision to choose hospice. We entered hospice knowing very little about what was provided and how it would unfold. We are grateful to TrinityCare for the care and pain management they provided and the fact that my husband could remain at home during his final days, surrounded by family. The hospice team taught my son and me to care for my husband in his final days. To provide this care was our privilege and would have been impossible had he been in a hospital,” the wife said.
Mansour accompanies Dr. Glen Komatsu, chief medical officer of hospice and palliative services at Providence TrinityCare, on visits to hospice patients homes. “The home visits allowed Ned to experience hospice and palliative care at a visceral and emotional level,” Komatsu said. “He has always understood the work intellectually and knew how to describe the work. But the home visits allow him to see, hear, feel, touch and taste the work. The home visits seemed to have reenergized and reinvigorated his commitment to TrinityCare,” Komatsu said.
Two recent house visits were to patients on opposite ends of life’s spectrum: a premature baby only a few months old and an 80-year-old woman.
Providence TrinityCare Hospice opened in 1977 and the TrinityKids Care program in 2001. They provide a full range of palliative and hospice care and grief support to patients and their families throughout Southern California. The services are offered in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and in patients’ own homes. TrinityCare will treat over 2,000 patients this year. Sadly this number will include nearly 300 children.
“Hospice is not a charity that commonly comes to mind. We don’t correct a child’s smile, seek a cure for disease, or rescue stray animals. What we do is not as visible — providing compassionate care when it’s most needed, at the end of life,” Mansour said. “Unless you’ve personally been touched by hospice, it’s difficult to appreciate the services provided to both the patient and the family. But once you’ve had that experience, and seen how much good it does for your loved one, you will be forever devoted to its support.
“The one thing that we at Providence TrinityCare have and what keeps us going, is that our board, executive team and caregiver team feel this is our true calling. For the caregivers especially, given the long hours, long drives and emotional stress associated with this service, their dedication is nothing short of extraordinary.”
One project that Mansour and his wife Dianne spearheaded is the booklet, Beyond Words, a compilation of photos and art by TrinityCare Hospice patients and their families. The photos of patients, young and old, surrounded by loved ones, physicians, social workers and nurses show the bonds formed between the receivers and caregivers.
Executive Director of Providence TrinityCare Hospice Foundation Barbara Roberts said of Mansour,: “Ned combined his business acumen and creative touch to this project. He envisioned a heartwarming and beautiful concept, which speaks of our mission without the need for words.”
The retired company president, attorney, novelist and painter said TrinityCare represents his life’s most ambitious goal.
“I want to help TrinityCare become the template for the best hospice and palliative care organization in the United States,” he said.
Providence TrinityCare Hospice’s annual food and wine tasting Sunday by the Sea will be held at an ocean bluff Palos Verdes Estates residence on September 28, 2014 from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person. Call (310) 543-3440 for more information.