By Fran Moore, PT
After I saw my last patient of the day, I decided to stop by and visit a dear friend who is going through chemotherapy. Her husband had just undergone major surgery a few months ago, and she stayed by his side until he fully recovered. She never once complained, but I could see the toll that his illness had taken on her. She didn’t mind. She was able to give him exactly what he needed – her love, her presence, her being there when he needed her most.
And now the tables were turned. Less than a month after her husband’s final visit with the surgeon, she was diagnosed with cancer. She opted for chemo, and the side effects were devastating. I hesitated even going to visit her. But I wanted her to know that I cared. Read more
By Valerie Hartman, RN, CMT, CR
Hospice nurses and nurse’s aides working in end-of-life care all know how important it is to find the right product to soothe stressed skin. I think any caregiver at home or family member visiting a loved one in a skilled nursing facility or inpatient hospice unit will quickly notice skin changes. Lips almost always become dry when mouth breathing occurs; winter weather and heating make skin conditions worse for those confined inside; natural nutrition and elimination changes contribute to lack of hydration. Certain illnesses and medication side effects also contribute to skin and dry mouth conditions. Read more
By Sr. Gerry Fitzpatrick, MA, MS, LPC, Holy Redeemer Counseling Center
There is nothing good about pain and suffering, yet throughout life every human confronts them in any one of a hundred ways. We ask: “Why?”, “Why me?”, or “Why my loved one?”
Suffering and pain are one of life’s biggest mysteries. Even the most gifted speakers and authors are unable to permeate the depths of its meaning. They may offer us helpful insights and useful tools for dealing with pain and suffering, but it remains a troublesome mystery. People try to make sense of it and unfortunately fall short. Read more
By Maggie Vescovich, SLP
No one can carry out hospice care in isolation. Each one of us, in whatever discipline, has to learn to work as a team, to appreciate and draw on the expertise of other members and make a commitment towards them as well as those we serve. ~Cicely Saunders
Cicely Saunders was a multidisciplinary team all in one person!
She trained in England as a nurse, later as a medical social worker, and finally as a physician. From 1948 until her death in 2005, she specialized in the care of patients with terminal illness. Her approaches to pain relief and tending to the emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients helped shape the modern hospice movement as we know it today. Read more
By Ron King
A hospice patient may have friends or family members that are in conflict with each other or have differing opinions about who should be able to visit the patient or determine what the timing and nature of visits should be. If a patient is unable to make or voice their own wishes, it may be difficult for those who are grieving to agree about who will be involved in the final weeks, days or moments of life. Read more
By Fran Moore
“I need to talk to you about the DNR, the Do Not Resuscitate order.” I stared blankly at the medical resident as he prepared to write his orders. I am the medical power of attorney for my 95-year-old aunt, who had just been weaned off the ventilator after surgery for a fractured hip last week.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I work in health care. I worked in a hospital for many years. I’m usually a confident caregiver. But there I stood, not comprehending the fact that I had to make a decision for a loved one that could affect whether she lived or died. Read more