What makes a ”life daily inspiration” moment? For me may be a different life daily inspiration for another wouldn’t you say?
“Life’s daily inspiration” presents itself in many ways and sometimes you must look deep within to find it.
Scarlett and I have been the in the medical field for many years. Or should I say decades to be correct?
We specialize in end of life care. Hospice is our passion. We are often asked how do we do this type of care, and doesn’t it make you sad all the time?
These are valid questions and concerns.
When I ( Elaine) started my Hospice journey I will admit it was overwhelming. A lot to be honest.
I wasn’t certain if I could do this.
Oh I understood and felt confident I could appropriately make my assessment, implement the plan of care, educate the patient and family and discuss with the medical team when needed and as changes occurred.
That I could do.
But how could I emotionally support the patient if I had never walked in their shoes?
I could however relate to the child that was losing a parent, aunt, uncle, friend or co- worker.
That I had experienced.
Through trial and error, I suppose in reality it was the patient that showed me. Taught me .
Yes of course Scarlett and I were provided training in learning ” how to ”
We were taught extensively in the importance of being present, listening to what was and was not being said by the patient. Verbal vs none verbal comments. Body language etc.
We have also been trained in how to care for the patients and families regarding their culture.
Respect is vital. There are many, many, different religions, none religion, and cultures that mandate what needs to be done.
One family we cared for we were told we could only speak to the husband but do not look at him in the eye.
Another family said their loved one must be buried within 24 hours of passing.
One family said all mirrors in the house had to be covered with towels.
Another had a sign on their front door, no shoes allowed.
Scarlett and I often had to assign only male certified nursing assistant to the male patient and vice versa for the women.
Some families would not let us come to their home on certain days of the week or after dark.
Some patients wanted their hospital bed to face the sun and some wanted the opposite.
It’s all about respect and Scarlett and I have often said we recognize we are on holy ground.
This is powerful.
So getting back to how do we do this?
To be honest, our patients teach us, every day we are given pearls of wisdom.
We have learned sometimes it’s OK if we just hold their hand and say nothing while knowing we are saying plenty.
We have learned sometimes when the patient or family ask a question that we and the team do not have an answer.
It’s OK to say we just don’t know.
Our patients, well, no one wants to be lied to or patronized. Yes honestly is best.
Our patients have taught us what is important, significance over strife, priority, the meaning of acceptance and forgiveness.
Scarlett and I are better people because of our Hospice journey.
We have been so blessed to walk this journey with our patients.
We have gone into so many homes, different homes, from rich, to middle class to the poor.
To the large family, small family and no family.
Some homes we find that the family wants to help and be involved to others wanting to hire people to care for their loved one, to sadly no one wanting to help.
Fortunately we have a team of social workers that help families navigate their chosen path, to the nursing assistant providing personal care, the chaplains for spiritual care or to just listen and some of the chaplains have been asked to come sing and agree to perform the funeral.
To the nurses, nurse practitioner to the MD.
We are a team. Our priority is our patient and their family.
Interestingly often times the family they have chosen are not blood-related.
We at hospice follow their lead, it is after all their journey. We are blessed to be part of their journey and we support their chosen family.
I will tell you I have relied on our chaplains many a time to help me with my emotions as well.
How can we not be touched by our patients and families ?
Please know hospice does not mean everything is sad, just the opposite.
When our patients are comfortable and able to be home and/or with their loved ones there are often times of laughter, stories are shared and many times relationships repaired.
So how do we do this ?
Scarlett and I hope you enjoyed this and maybe it took you to an inspirational moment or a special time in your life.
Would you mind sharing it with us ?