Attending memorial services, funerals, condolence calls etc

  1. I am curious how many of you attend any services for your patients. What makes you decide to go versus just expressing your condolences with a call. Do you all follow up with a call to the family if you are not the one to pronounce?
  2. Visit nurselearner profile page

    About nurselearner

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 55; Likes: 2

    14 Comments

  3. by   RN4hospice
    I personally feel that it is too difficult to attend all of our patient's calling hours/funerals. I tried to do this when I first started hospice 12 years ago and finally discovered that it kept me emotionally drained. You have to perserve yourself in this line of work. I do attend some of the calling hours for patients that I have personally gotten very close to. But I feel a phone call or card to the family is just as appreciated. Our BC tries to attend all calling hours, if not, another team member goes to represent the team.
  4. by   SCgirl1962
    Totally agree. When I first started hospice, I tried to attend all as well and I burned out very fast. Felt like I was in perpetual mourning. Not only that, but this job is very demanding and takes you away from from your family enough without going to all funerals and wakes ( which were mostly after hours and on weekends, it seemed ).
    Now, I only attend those that I have really become attached to. For the others, I phone the family or send a special card and try to stop by afterwards for a quick visit - depending on if the patient lived in an area where I would be making visits anyway. I think it's important to make some type of follow up contact with the family.
    A friend of mine once told me that as a hospice nurse, we are there when the patient and the family really needed us.
  5. by   andyg
    I agree with all the above. I've been doing hospice about 14 years now and learned long ago yu can't do it all. I always made it a point to go to visitation for myself and the family (it is also very very good PR for you and your company) this doesn't take very long because theres always others in line. The FH folks also get to know you personally and that can make your job easier at times. Let me say that the ones I visited were the ones I got close to but also if they were well known in the community it never hurts to do some PR for your company especially if you have competition in your area. Good luck andyg
  6. by   doodlemom
    Agree with all of the above. If I have not pronounced, I'll call the family to check on them the next day. Usually I will call and check on them again after several days.
  7. by   jCLNC
    Quote from nurselearner
    I am curious how many of you attend any services for your patients. What makes you decide to go versus just expressing your condolences with a call. Do you all follow up with a call to the family if you are not the one to pronounce?
    I guess that I am going to be the "stick in the mud" on this thread. I am a case manager in my hospice, so I am the nurse that sees the patient most of the time. I have been doing Hospice for 8 years and am a CHPN. My families are so appreciative when I take the time (and can do so) to attend the funeral or the "viewing" as we call it down here in the South.

    As far as burn out, I don't think it's attending funerals, which somehow strangely gives ME closure also, I think it's not taking care of yourself spiritually and taking the necessary breaks from the job that you need in any area of nursing.

    I'm sorry guys, but on this one I'll have to break from the crowd. The funerals, the viewings, and the Memorial Services are all very important to my families and I attend whenver I can for them, as well as for me.

    Regards:spin:
    jCLNC
  8. by   tddowney
    Quote from nurselearner
    I am curious how many of you attend any services for your patients. What makes you decide to go versus just expressing your condolences with a call. Do you all follow up with a call to the family if you are not the one to pronounce?
    We had hospice care for my mother, and when she died, I never expected the hospice folks to come to the funeral or visiting hours.

    The exceptional care she received was more than what anyone could ask.

    I did not, and don't think now that hospice nurses, or for that matter, any nurses, should be expected to attend funerals or visiting hours. It's just too easy to become emotionally drained.
  9. by   doodlemom
    Quote from jCLNC
    I guess that I am going to be the "stick in the mud" on this thread. I am a case manager in my hospice, so I am the nurse that sees the patient most of the time. I have been doing Hospice for 8 years and am a CHPN. My families are so appreciative when I take the time (and can do so) to attend the funeral or the "viewing" as we call it down here in the South.

    As far as burn out, I don't think it's attending funerals, which somehow strangely gives ME closure also, I think it's not taking care of yourself spiritually and taking the necessary breaks from the job that you need in any area of nursing.

    I'm sorry guys, but on this one I'll have to break from the crowd. The funerals, the viewings, and the Memorial Services are all very important to my families and I attend whenver I can for them, as well as for me.

    Regards:spin:
    jCLNC
    Oh, I do attend some - generally the patients and families that I've gotten to know very well. I do not attend anywhere near what I did in the first few years. I don't think it burned me out - I just don't have the time.
  10. by   CHPN in So Cal
    Hi,
    I'm new to this forum and really excited about connecting with other hospice nurses. Our work is so unique, intense, humbling and such a reminder to cherish our healthy bodies and those who we love. Who knows when death may come?
    I've been doing full time hospice case manageing field work for 10 years. Initially I went to as many memorial services as possible. I didn't feel burnt out from this but time issues forced me to cut way back.
    I found that I missed the closure those services provided so our chaplain takes time at the end of one team meeting each month and reads the names of those who had died that month. Any of the team members can light a candle in rememberance and speak a few words about the patient or how that experience touch them. Sometimes we'll play a certain piece of music, something that reminds us of our patient or something that we find moving or comforting. There is always a lot of tears and hugs and I find it very healing. It also has brought our team closer. We usually bring food as well and end by sharing a potluck meal. Often bringing foods which remind us of our patients and families. I think all of this has really brought our team closer as well.
    I still go to a few services though and always make a phone call or two to express my condolences and see how the survivors are doing.
  11. by   aimeee
    We post the times in our chart room and attendance is optional but encouraged. Sometimes the deaths just clump together and it would be overwhelming to get to all the visitations. The team members all sign a sympathy note for the family though. We have a memorial service yearly for ALL our patients and we are expected to attend this.
  12. by   vamedic4
    I don't work hospice, but many of our patients are sent home in their care. I envy your dedication to your patients and the special person it takes to work in the environment you do...thank you all.
    This post hit me where it hurts, we just sent a favorite patient home last week on hospice -16 years old and a complete joy to be around. Most of us didn't even get to say goodbye. Ouch.
    I have attended several funerals and memorial services in the past 12 years, and about the only time some of us don't attend is if the service is prohibitively far away.
    Again, thank you for the special care you provide.

    vamedic4
    sleep will come soon
  13. by   doodlemom
    Quote from vamedic4
    I don't work hospice, but many of our patients are sent home in their care. I envy your dedication to your patients and the special person it takes to work in the environment you do...thank you all.
    This post hit me where it hurts, we just sent a favorite patient home last week on hospice -16 years old and a complete joy to be around. Most of us didn't even get to say goodbye. Ouch.
    I have attended several funerals and memorial services in the past 12 years, and about the only time some of us don't attend is if the service is prohibitively far away.
    Again, thank you for the special care you provide.

    vamedic4
    sleep will come soon
    We frequently hear from people who do not do hospice that we are special to do the work that we do. We all have our specialties and ours is this - and yes, I have met many extraordinary people in this work. I think you must be a very special person to do what you do. Taking care of pediatric patients would be very difficult for me. I have taken care of very few over the years on hospice and each one has touched me deeply - and I have atended those funerals, BTW.
  14. by   KittyLoverRN
    Quote from aimeee
    We post the times in our chart room and attendance is optional but encouraged. Sometimes the deaths just clump together and it would be overwhelming to get to all the visitations. The team members all sign a sympathy note for the family though. We have a memorial service yearly for ALL our patients and we are expected to attend this.
    Yes, I agree aimee....attendance is optional, but families appreciate it so much when we take the time to attend the visitation and/or funeral.

close