A Day In the Life

Image Above: HopeWest Care Center

We live in a world where healthcare leaders must move as fast as they can to keep up with the changes that confront them daily.  It is easy to get so caught up in the budget shortfalls, the regulations, the competition and so much more, that the actual work done by the hospice staff may be overlooked.

My friend Christy Whitney Bourchard, CEO at HopeWest in Grand Junction, Colorado sent me this story written by one of their nurses working in their Hospice Care Center (HCC). I was struck by her honesty and eloquence in sharing a day in her life at work. It is a beautiful reminder of the fact that death is so much more than a medical event. Hospice workers face multiple losses and deaths every day while supporting families through one of life’s most difficult times, then they must try to cope with their own emotions over what they have witnessed.

The author, hospice nurse Barb Hedges said late one night she wrote down her thoughts from that...

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The Value of Volunteers

I was touring a hospice care center when the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies drew me to the kitchen, where I found a group of girls from the local high school. They told me that once a week they come to bake cookies for the families and patients in the care center. What a terrific way to enable young people to express their budding instincts to serve – and to create ardent ambassadors for hospice in the community.   

When I’m assessing a hospice program, one key measure of quality is the number of active volunteers and their level of involvement. How many volunteers do you have? What kind of things do the volunteers do for hospice? How long have they been volunteering? As we move forward in this new world of hospice and health care reform, volunteers are going to have an even greater impact on the lives of people who are facing serious illness and death. 

What kind of person is likely to volunteer at a hospice? Most often, volunteers will be...

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Hospice Leaders Must Be Fearless

Each day Hospice leaders look death in the face and adjust their organizations to meet the needs of patients, caregivers, staff, donors, volunteers, referral sources, local/state/federal government regulations and the communities they serve; and do it in the midst of revolutionary change.  They must be fearless, they must be creative, they must be smart, they must be innovative and they must care.  This work is not for the faint of heart.

As many of us in end of life care attend the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Management and Leadership Conference in Washington DC this week, we must remember there are hundreds of people we can meet and access during this time together.  Listen, learn, share and have fun connecting with others who are committed to outstanding end of life care.  Recognize we are indeed all in this together, with a common purpose: support and care of those people facing serious illnesses and their loved ones.

It seems...

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