Making the decision to enroll yourself or a loved one in hospice care brings with it a tremendous amount of uncertainty for most people. Often, people have no idea what their responsibilities are, what the standard procedure is moving forward or what records they need to keep, let alone how to deal with all of the stress and emotional buildup that they’re likely accumulating! Simply put: most people need a guide to help them navigate the world of palliative care.
There are very specific instances throughout life that could warrant interaction with a social worker. Adoption, for example, would put you in close contact with a social worker as a means of qualifying your home in the eyes of an adoption agency. For the most part, however, the everyday family won’t generally come face to face with a social worker.
Leaving Work at Work: a Guide to Distancing, not Detachment
Is there any better feeling than walking out of work at 5pm and heading home for the day, knowing that there’s nothing that can’t wait until tomorrow to interfere with your evening? This is a feeling many 9-5 workers know well and it’s something that can go underappreciated if you’re in a position to leave your work at work every day.
For hospice professionals, leaving work at work isn’t always so easy. Sure, you’re not going to bring a patient home with you or sit up long hours into the night checking charts, but that doesn’t mean the burden of your day doesn’t follow you home to rest upon your conscience. The emotional toll of losing a patient might leave you feeling fatigued for days, while the fleeting memories of a person’s last words might echo through your head long past bedtime—whatever the situation, the fact remains the same: leaving work at work is tough when you’re a hospice worker.
Everyone believes they have a stressful job at some point in time or another, but stress is a relative term that’s largely dependent on the tolerance of the person and the nature of their work. Despite being a subjective idea, however, it can be said that some careers are invariably more stressful overall and none quite make the top of the list in such a way as hospice nursing careers do.
Hospice nurses operate in an environment that is defined by stress. Tending to terminal patients day after day, knowing the inevitable end that is rapidly approaching is a stressful prospect in and of itself, but it’s only the core in a many-layered cocoon of stress. Families trying to cope, medical situations that require absolute attention and long hours create a full gamut of stresses that are not easily escaped or dealt with, leading to a myriad of concerns for the hospice nurse.
Conversations regarding terminal health conditions are varied and involve numerous different courses of action, different living options and treatment plans, but by and large, regardless of the details, these conversations are never easy to have. Because the outcome of any terminal situation is the passing of a loved one, many people feel like their options for end of life care are futile or, they cling to a hopeful resolve that suggests the prospect of recovery.
Pain management can be a touchy subject when discussed in broad medical terms and often there are very rigid arguments to be made for or against certain practices depending on the situation at hand. Factors like ethics, addiction, holism, patient history and more all come into play and there’s generally no rigid standard that dictates how all cases of pain management are to be approached—it all depends on the person responsible for treatment.
The grey areas and rigid approaches generally fall to the wayside when it comes to palliative care, however—for the simple fact that pain management becomes a focus of comfort during end of life care, rather than recovery. In this way, when assessing and approaching pain management, hospice care professionals often observe a different set of variables.
Many people don’t often realize the hierarchy of medical professionals in different segments of the healthcare system. Knowing the difference between a physician, a nurse and a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in particular, is tremendously important to understanding the duties, responsibilities and abilities that a healthcare worker has. Nowhere is this more important than in a hospice environment.
Generally, hospice environments are staffed by registered nurses (RNs) and through their scope of experience and abilities, a nurse will be able to provide comfort to a terminally ill patient through the end of their life. A nurse will also have the medical knowledge and know-how to act in specific situations that may require action.
While a nurse might “run the show” so to speak, it doesn’t mean there’s not a need for other medical professionals. In fact, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are also tremendously helpful to have on staff or working part-time in a hospice environment!
People often take up careers in the healthcare field because they have an inherent desire to help people. What’s more rewarding than being there for someone who is experiencing hardship in their life and being able to see them through to recovery? There’s absolutely no feeling in the world that trumps it.
The life of a caregiver isn’t one with a lot of downtime. Being on the clock at all times, while still maintaining your own personal life can quickly mount a burden on even the most resilient individuals and often, unfortunately, it can lead to caretaker burnout.
Burnout is bad for everyone involved—the caretaker, the person being cared for and anyone else who happens to tie into the fold. But, the good news is that burnout can be avoided. Take a look at five tried and true methods on how to reduce your stress level, recharge your batteries and keep yourself in a positive state of being as you give someone the very best quality of life in their final days:
People often have trouble asking for help. Even asking for help with something simple, like carrying your groceries, seems imposing for many people—to the point where they don’t just remain silent, but actively refuse offers for help. Whether it’s pride, shame, perseverance or something else, asking for help isn’t something everyone can bring themselves to do.