Hear Our Fears

As a hospice nurse, I have spoken the words “It is time to begin Morphine…” Those words were regularly met with being stunned and frozen faces expressing resistance and silently screaming “NO!”

We don’t have to be in the context of a loved one dying to have a reaction like this moment in time. Any situation that calls us in to a reality and reveals our position of a “have to” will cause any one of us to resist and desperately try to find another way.

My hope…is that the person telling us “it is time” to do something we truly never want to do…has developed our trust and compassionately directs us past resistance.

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The Elephant

whitey age 50!

 

Do we really have to talk about the elephant in the room?

YEP…

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Hospice Meaning…

The background of the word hospice, stems from another word…hospitality.  Recently I heard a brief description of hospitality as, “giving brotherly love to a stranger.”

Any one who works in hospice will know this is a perfect word picture of end-of-life care.  You commonly walk in to a strangers private world, learn intimate details of their troubles and have the opportunity to care for them as if you are a blood relative.

Be encouraged to all who in one way or another are “giving brotherly love to a stranger.”

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Affecting your Community

This is how hospice affects your Community:

Brings people together

Educates and empowers you at a vulnerable time

Treats the “family” as a whole

Promotes dying as a natural part of life

Now I ask you…who is your community?

 

 

 

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A Burden is Lifted

I wish I could tell you how many times I have heard this comment from people who have had the help of a hospice team.  Even if it has been years since their loved one has died, you can still see the relief on their faces as they explain what hospice has done for them.

A well known fact is how hospice care helps the person with a terminal illness, the lesser known fact is how hospice care helps the family.  “Just knowing we were not alone,” or “A weight was lifted off of my shoulders,” seems to be how a burden is lifted off of a grieving person.

Caregivers are worried, exhausted, sad and have SOOOO MANY decisions to make when their loved ones are diagnosed with a terminal illness.  I believe they are in that mode of “just do the next thing.”  A hospice team (and any kind helping person) can think about the bigger picture and bring a bit of organization to a time of chaos… lifting a burden!

 

 

 

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Student Husker’s Serve

An amazing outreach our student athletes can take part in is visiting clients who are on hospice.  For years these young folks have been stepping further into their platform of being a Husker athlete and giving back to their fans.

Many hospice clients are avid fans, life long ticket holders, financial supporters, cheered the Huskers on every game there ever was from their living rooms and prayed for their health, education and safety.  So when the Social Workers and Nurses in Hospice teams are considering how to encourage the terminally ill (and their families) there is an opportunity to reach out to UNL and connect with their program directors with an invitation to meet their Hospice clients.

I had the opportunity to observe Roy Helu and Alex Henery interact with a client and family and boy did it make a difference in the client’s life.  Later on I also learned it was impactful to Roy and Alex…I saw those young men engage conversation with this client and want to learn about the client’s life!  They acknowledge their insights and talked the game for awhile, but seeing them focus on the client was beautiful and honoring and not only on their role as NE Football players.

I want to thank who ever was the one who started this program and has monitored it, shaped it and kept serving at the forfront of the outreach!

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Along Side of You

Several times in my career I have heard people say to me, “How can you do the work you do?”  As a Hospice Nurse, I understand this question on the emotional side.  Facing terminal illnesses along side of clients when you are the nurse can be challenging, raw and heartbreaking.  Especially when death happens over and over…over and over…and over and over again.

Yet, when we each have this opportunity to come along side and enter in to a real life process there can be more energy and more fuel for life than you could ever expect.  As a nurse, we are involved with people as their situation arises.  It is always a different feeling and story when it is your own people, happening inside of your own family.  It is like another part of your heart and mind get affected.

Either way, my family or yours, as a Hospice Nurse I will assure you…we are with you, we care about your situation and want to be as helpful as life can allow us to be.

 

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I Want to Go Home

Sometimes going home is the only goal a person may have as they face a terminal illness.  Over and over they express, “I just want to go home!”  “That is where I want to be,” “I won’t go any where else” and “I just need to go home.”

What a wonderful thought and way to spend your energy as a person facing the last phases of life…to get home.  I can think this way, because as a former Hospice Nurse I have seen this happen many times with excellent results!  But mostly the results are wonderful because all parties have graciously comprimised to build a support team (client/family/friends/neighbors/Hospice Team.)

If you are hearing a loved one say over and over they want to go home, please don’t be frightened about that goal.  There are resources (get Hospice!) available to support you all and share the responsibility.  The fear of the unknown may not go away, but when the desires of a person to be at home are reached there can be a joy seen in their eyes and heard in their voice that you will never forget.

Home is really where the heart is…

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Health Care Workers

Just a thought…there are a lot of Hospice Nurses working all kinds of hours because of “on-call” needs.  So let’s keep them encouraged and in our prayers as they go out and about in these storms.

A nurse friend of mine posted a photo of a tornado as she was driving home and it made me think of them as they are called out to help their clients.

 

 

 

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Community Service

All throughout the community, teams of people are out helping client’s and families who are facing end-of-life circumstances.  One such team is the University of Lincoln Student Athletics.

There is an organized group of mentors helping these students develop a respect and opportunity to serve their community.  I have seen them in action and the impact they have on client’s with a terminal illness.  It’s fun, insightful and really touching.

The client’s are Husker fans, season ticket owners, supporters and know their games!  I think the students come in with objectives to learn about these folks and leave with a new sense of life.  When people are aware they are in a dying phase of life, they are found to be radically alive and speaking words of wisdom that can change the hearers perspective of life.

Thank you UNL staff for providing these opportunities to our community and especially to clients at the end of their lives.  Thank you to all the students who have taken time away from their studies…it is impressive and fun to watch.

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