Archive for Emotions

What If the Deceased is Despised?

In the grief support groups that I’ve led, I frequently refer to the person who died as, Your beloved.

A while back, my boss attended a hospice conference. After returning to the office, she posed a question from one of the workshop presenters: what if the person being grieved was not loved?

Should everyone be called a “loved one” or “beloved?” Read More →

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What About the Other C in Hospice Care?

alone

When grieving a loved one, we may bottle up our angry-awful-anguished emotions . . .

When sharing about a new hospice patient, the nurse said, “Constipation and spiritual distress.”

And that was it!

Once a week, in the first hours of a work morning, a hospice team (chaplains, doctors, nurses, social workers, volunteer coordinators, and bereavement) gathers to review the patients. We’ll remember those who have recently died, discuss the current and ongoing patients, and take the first official “team notes” about the patients who have just entered into our care.

In most weekly meetings, there are several patients with sparse information because they were admitted in the prior twenty-four hours. There will only be the initial remarks from an intake nurse. However, if a patient had started with us several days before the meeting, the case manager nurse (and often the social worker) has had an opportunity to visit the home or care facility. More has been learned and discerned, and therefore more can be reported about the patient. The information will be listed in the medical chart, coupled with details for managing each plan of care. Pain will be reduced. Breathing will be improved. Potentially unnecessary medications will be evaluated and may be discontinued. Read More →

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The Evil Twins that Stalk Hospice

Shining Twins

The twins from 1980’s The Shining

Like evil twins in a horror movie, fear and ignorance stalk those in hospice care.

This happened: [Disclaimer]

A hospice nurse described one of her patients—let’s say this was a mother of several adult children and also a wife of four plus decades—who lay dying in a rented hospital bed in the living room. Most of the family had gathered at the home. Most talked with their loved one or did chores like cleaning the bathroom or preparing meals. But one family member—let’s say it was the oldest daughter—arrived, but never entered the living room. Never offered to help. This daughter surveyed the activity around the metal-framed bed from the entryway, and then hurried down a hallway, away from her family, away from her mother.

Was she afraid of death? Read More →

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