Archive for Social Worker – 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 . . .

+      +      +

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 →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Do What You Can Live With

adviceI avoid giving advice.

I enjoy giving advice.

Both statements are true.

Obviously, I spend considerable time in giving advice by posting regular essays about hospice. I want those considering hospice (for themselves or others) to have resources during this crucial time. I want to offer suggestions—through my questions or curiosity—for families currently served by hospice. Whether I write about odd medical terms or encourage honesty about dying and death, I hope my views (advice!) help at least one reader. Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

All For The Better

Once, as a hospice chaplain . . .

The social worker and I decided to visit together. We shared some patients and two were miles from the hospice office. Carpooling was a good use of resources. Additionally, the families wouldn’t be interrupted by one-more-phone-call to schedule a visit.

On the way there, I confided, “You know, this does defeat part of our impact.”

“What do you mean?”

“We won’t get much of a chance for one-on-one encounters. A lot of what we do is based on being with the patient or family member. Having another person around changes that.”

“Oh,” was mostly what she replied. On we drove, excellent stewards of hospice resources.

holding-handsAt the first visit, the husband was the patient. Chairs encircled his bed. Since he was hard-of-hearing, I initially stood beside the bed, speaking loudly. He kept chatting; I listened. Occasionally I’d raise my voice to pose a question. During that time the social worker and the patient’s elderly wife and daughter retreated to the living room. Later, I joined the women in the living room. “Perfect timing,” the social worker said. “We were just talking about . . .” And soon the wife and daughter asked how to best engage their 88-year old husband/father in a conversation about dying. I could answer, because he and I had just shared about his feelings. They also welcomed my comments about how much his wife represented an essential part of his spiritual support. “Really?” the wife marveled. “He said that about me?” She grinned, obviously pleased. Read More →

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather