It takes a village
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
As a nurse, one of the most important lessons I have learned in hospice is the importance of the team that you share your patient with. I didn't always play nice with others, in fact to be honest I didn't think I needed them and in many ways I became a little territorial with my patients not understanding why the social worker or chaplain was encroaching on MY time with MY patient. I know... how selfish right? And don't I always say "this isn't about you"? Sometimes I need to follow my own advice!!!
This has since changed significantly. Each patient is assigned a doctor, a nurse, a spiritual counselor, a social worker, a home health aid and sometimes, if they are lucky, a volunteer. Each one of these team members brings something unique and valuable to the care of the patient, but also to the fluidity of each situation. Death is not predictable, how someone goes through their process is not predictable. How a family member or friend works through their loss is not predictable, The team works together to find the best way to help make the struggle a little less painful or difficult.
Over the years I have come to learn the vast amount of information each member of the team brings and I have learned to count on them. I go to them for answers, because I have learned... I do not have them all!!! I have also gone to them for help for myself; for comfort, for support, for guidance and clarity. I need this team, as much as the patient and family does.
The home health aids are lovely, their work, is lovely. They are more up close and personal with each patient than most members of the team. They have a special kind of sensitivity and kindness that makes our patients feel safe. If you are a caregiver, CNA or HHA, I say THANK YOU!!!
My most favorite members of the team, are the volunteers. They are givers of the truest sense of the word. And so incredibly unselfishly. They don't do this for financial reasons or for accolades, in fact I think most prefer to fly a little under the radar. But their presence and gentle nature and total commitment to our patients is deep and beautiful and amazing and I love them. I truly love them! If you are a volunteer, please know that I appreciate you, more than you will ever know.
Embrace the team. Appreciate the team. Support the team. Count on the team.