Archive for Chaplain – Page 2

Hospice and the Last Days

hospiceBelow is an overview of what it’s like when someone agrees to hospice care for her or his life-threatening illness. Spoiler alert: my description is intentionally optimistic.

This scenario assumes a patient will be supported by a hospice over several months. Maybe more. As I’ve written elsewhere, nearly a third of all hospice patients die within the first week. Though I understand why, I believe some wait longer than necessary to consider hospice. My hope is that a few find this “optimistic” sketch about the first (and last) days with hospice and make the hard, but equally likely good choice of seeking comfort care when a terminal illness forces you to ask . . .

How can I have the best quality of life in the last days of life?

Meeting the hospice team that will care for you and your family will be overwhelming . . .

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It’s bad enough you’re sick. But not just sick, since you have a terminal illness and your physician—maybe your friendly family doctor or a guy in a starched white lab coat who didn’t know your name without glancing at the chart—told you there are no more options for a cure.

Simply put, you are dying. Read More →

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Dying in the Middle Room

a renovated suburban house with several rooms...

A renovated suburban house with several rooms…

The patient was restless.

An ambulance brought her to our hospice’s home—a renovated suburban house with several rooms—for pain management. She was also close to death. The only local family for the seventy-something woman was a granddaughter, overwhelmed by raising her kids and trying to be her grandmother’s caregiver. The patient’s siblings had already died. The patient’s daughter was, again, in rehab. A son, an Army officer, was traveling from somewhere in Europe, hoping to see his mother before she died.

[For disclaimer, click here.]

Right now, in the hospice home, in the middle room with its two beds, there was only the dying, restless patient, a nurse, the doctor, and the chaplain. One bed was empty. But the second bed, where the patient lay, shifted with her unsettled body, with her soft random moaning, with her eyes opening and closing. Read More →

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The Morning of Many Baptists

peaceThe hospice chaplain explained that one of his new patients, “Has a Baptist background, but he doesn’t go to church.”

Later, about another patient who’d recently entered hospice care, the same chaplain said, “She was a Baptist, but hasn’t been to church since she was a knee-high to a grasshopper.” He paused. “Her words, not mine.” The chaplain chuckled.

And then, still later, about another of his assigned patients: “He was raised Baptist, but hasn’t been involved anywhere after his children grew up and moved away.”

On that particular morning, at our team meeting, it seemed all of that particular chaplain’s new patients were raised in, had been affiliated with, or once deeply involved in some church in one of the many Baptist denominations. Read More →

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