Hospice: What You Don't Know Can Hurt - page 2

I took a seat on the kitchen chair that the daughter brought in. Pulling it up to the double bed, I tried to get close to my patient, a woman nearing the end of her battle with gastric cancer. She... Read More

  1. by   jeastridge
    Quote from pookyp
    I'm new to hospice as well. Enjoyed the story! I'll be putting some things that were said to the family in my memory!
    Thank you for your response. I am glad it was helpful to you! Joy
  2. by   AliceTrout
    Thank you for this story, it helped illuminate some of the emotions I have picked up on emanating from family members when we bring up the idea of hospice to our ICU family's. I struggled to understand why some people seemed to prefer having their loved one die in the cold, harsh, and impersonal ICU as opposed to the more home-like comfort of our hospice unit. I guess I never looked at it as "giving up" but always simply as making someone (and their family) more comfortable when viable life-saving options cease to exist.

    I thank you for giving me some insight into my patient's families mind-sets when conversations turn to hospice.
  3. by   jeastridge
    Quote from AliceTrout
    Thank you for this story, it helped illuminate some of the emotions I have picked up on emanating from family members when we bring up the idea of hospice to our ICU family's. I struggled to understand why some people seemed to prefer having their loved one die in the cold, harsh, and impersonal ICU as opposed to the more home-like comfort of our hospice unit. I guess I never looked at it as "giving up" but always simply as making someone (and their family) more comfortable when viable life-saving options cease to exist.


    I thank you for giving me some insight into my patient's families mind-sets when conversations turn to hospice.
    Dear AliceTrout, Thank you for your response. You are so right--it is a challenge to understand where our patient's and families are coming from, especially when their reactions don't match our expectations. As professional nurses we work together as team members to shine more light on what is really happening: what is the family history and dynamics? Is there something we are missing? How can we help reach each other across the great divide of misunderstanding? I hope that by sharing stories with one another that we can continue to grow in our ability to help each other and our patients. Joy
  4. by   dkmears
    As a LVN, I have worked in hospice for 4 years. .I truly believe that hospice is as much for the family, if not more, as it is for the patient....families often just want confirmation that they have made the right decision for their family member...I have been told more than once that those of us in hospice have made the process of losing a loved one much more bearable. ..I love the field. ..
  5. by   nrcnurse
    Thanks for sharing, Joy. I have had the same conversation, in various configurations, so many times. It's like a PR piece that is an essential part of a Hospice nurse's tool kit. We're not the "angels of death;" we grant permission for quality of life.
  6. by   barbiew05
    This was a very interesting article. Having used Hospice services, I understand many of the decisions that have to be made before one can begin the process. When my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I did not want to hear the word Hospice because I believed there was nothing that could be done. After speaking with a Hospice nurse in a hospital setting, I changed my mind about Hospice services that could be provided. I cannot say enough about the care that we received from our local Hospice organization. After my husband passed, I became a Hospice volunteer. I have never regretted for one minute of being there for someone else in the same situation that I was in. Hospice nurses are a special bred of people. Thank you for all you do to help patients and families dealing with their loved ones illness.
  7. by   jeastridge
    Quote from dkmears
    As a LVN, I have worked in hospice for 4 years. .I truly believe that hospice is as much for the family, if not more, as it is for the patient....families often just want confirmation that they have made the right decision for their family member...I have been told more than once that those of us in hospice have made the process of losing a loved one much more bearable. ..I love the field. ..
    Dear dkmears, I'm so glad you work in hospice and love the field. We all need people like you on our teams. And yes, I agree with you: hospice can be as much about the family as about the patient. We also provide an "official" status for medical professionals so that it becomes possible for all of us to shift our thinking to comfort measures. Joy
  8. by   jeastridge
    Quote from nrcnurse
    Thanks for sharing, Joy. I have had the same conversation, in various configurations, so many times. It's like a PR piece that is an essential part of a Hospice nurse's tool kit. We're not the "angels of death;" we grant permission for quality of life.
    Dear nrcnurse, "Permission for quality of life." I like the phrase! I often tell patients and families that hospice is not "doing nothing or giving up" it is, instead, doing different things--like facing in another direction. I'm glad the article resonated with you. Joy
  9. by   jeastridge
    Quote from barbiew05
    This was a very interesting article. Having used Hospice services, I understand many of the decisions that have to be made before one can begin the process. When my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I did not want to hear the word Hospice because I believed there was nothing that could be done. After speaking with a Hospice nurse in a hospital setting, I changed my mind about Hospice services that could be provided. I cannot say enough about the care that we received from our local Hospice organization. After my husband passed, I became a Hospice volunteer. I have never regretted for one minute of being there for someone else in the same situation that I was in. Hospice nurses are a special bred of people. Thank you for all you do to help patients and families dealing with their loved ones illness.
    Dear barbiew05, Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. I am sorry for your loss and I am thankful that hospice was there to help you at that critical juncture. I am also thankful for your response in volunteering with hospice. I know you make a difference to others who are walking in a similar place. Joy
  10. by   vanhlj09
    I feel the same way! I know first hand that it is so comforting to know that a professional is just a phone call away. We had hospice for my dad when he was dying. I don't know how we would have made it through without them. I always said, "Some day I want to be THAT person for someone else!" And, now I am! I have been a hospice nurse for a year and a half and I absolutely love it! It can be so emotional and you can get attached to your patients and families very quickly. But also, it is very rewarding, knowing that I have helped a patient and family through one of the worst heartaches. I will work in this field as long as I can! There is nothing else like it!
  11. by   jeastridge
    Quote from vanhlj09
    I feel the same way! I know first hand that it is so comforting to know that a professional is just a phone call away. We had hospice for my dad when he was dying. I don't know how we would have made it through without them. I always said, "Some day I want to be THAT person for someone else!" And, now I am! I have been a hospice nurse for a year and a half and I absolutely love it! It can be so emotional and you can get attached to your patients and families very quickly. But also, it is very rewarding, knowing that I have helped a patient and family through one of the worst heartaches. I will work in this field as long as I can! There is nothing else like it!
    Dear vanhlj09, Thank you for sharing your experience and enthusiasm. Your positive attitude is encouraging and contagious! Joy
  12. by   lindacampy
    My family experienced the gift of hospice for three months after my mother's terminal illness reached the point where quality of life rather than quantity of life became the paramount objective. It was an extraordinary experience. Out of profound gratitude, I now find myself on a personal mission to spread the word so that more families seek or welcome this option, one that makes the unbearable bearable not only for the dying patient, but also for her family. I have written articles and op-eds, given speeches, and even testified by invitation before my state's legislature (which was considering an assisted suicide bill). It saddens and upsets me that too many people don't know what hospice is, and just as many think it is something it isn't.

    Your article, Joy, is one of the most compelling, truthful, and helpful pieces of writing on this topic that I've come across -- and I have read many! I applaud you for trying to correct misconceptions that cause too many patients or their family members to reject rather than embrace hospice. I have the deepest respect for you and all people who devote their careers (and give their hearts) to work in hospice; and my appreciation for the hospice team that guided and loved my mother and our family is abundant and abiding.

    After my mom's death in 2009, my grief found expression on the pages of what became a memoir about our last year together, and a good portion of it is devoted to our amazing experience with hospice, including the volunteers who made such a huge difference. I invite you to explore my web site, where you'll find information about my story and also links to other things I've written as a grieving-grateful-daughter-turned-passionate-advocate-for-compassionate-end-of-life care! (When All That's Left of Me Is Love |). And for quicker reference, here are two articles that may be particularly resonant and potentially helpful: "Embrace hospice as a guide on the journey through terminal illness" (Embrace hospice as a guide on the journey through terminal illness) and "Why are we in denial about death?" (Why Are We in Denial About Death? | The Caregiver Space).

    Thank you again, Joy, for your article and for what you do.
  13. by   ESpeed15
    This was veryopen and enlightening. Thank you for sharing!

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