Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reflections on hospice care …


A dying person said to Cicely Saunders, “I am a traveler on the journey from one life to the next, and I need a place where I can be welcomed and looked after and cared for and be myself on that journey.” No, we do not have the power to control their illness or make it go away, but as hospice people we reach out with an outstretched hand, a listening ear, an understanding mind. Our kindred spirit helps to share their feelings, thoughts, and fears. We are an essential part of the road map of their daunting journey.

What a privilege and blessing to be part of the hospice team! Patients and families openly and honestly express their inner emotions so that plans of care will meet their unique needs.

 

On one hand, when the unfortunate, dismissive words are uttered, “There is nothing more to be done,” hospice is both death accepting and life enhancing. Hospice is not disease centered but patient focused. When cure is no longer possible, giving our utmost in care becomes the ultimate concern. Often when asked, “How can you work with people that are dying?” you probably answer, “You get more out of it than you give working with a great interdisciplinary team.” You understand the words of Ecclesiastes 7, “It is better to be in a house of mourning, than a house of fasting.” Confronted with the finitude of life we rethink your priorities, refine our goals, and redefine our futures.  We become better people because of hospice.  How blessed we are.

 

Based on “In The Face of Insanity, How Do Caregivers Maintain Their Own Sanity” by Rabbi Earl A. Grollman

2 comments:

Ed Reese said...

Thank you, this really resonates with me. As he pastor of an aging church, I did a lot of visiting the sick and dying and many funerals. To me, this was a secondary part of my ministry, with preaching and leadership being my primary focuses. But during my final service at that church, during an open mike time, every person who commented on my 12 year ministry there commented on how much my visits and ministry to the sick and dying meant to them, NOT on how much my sermons and leadership meant to them. So now, being a hospice chaplain I do consider being part of a person's and that person's family's final journey to be a great and precious priviledge.
On a completely separate not, I'd love to hear your take on "end of-life doulas," something I've heard of recently but don't know much about. I guess it's kinda like a midwife for the dying.?

Richard Behers said...

Thanks, Ed. I just posted an article on the topic. Blessings.