When We Give a Little Too Much
“It’s better to give than receive”: As noble an ideal as that is, there’s a limit to giving that too many of us involved in caregiving choose to ignore. Where does it lead us?
Those of us in healthcare and other service fields have been taught that giving is honorable and receiving is selfish. So, we give of our time, our money, our wisdom, our ideas and our love without restriction or any overt expectation of return. It feels so good to give, seeing the smiling and grateful faces of those we serve is the reward in itself.
But what about the other side of that equation? What happens when it’s time to receive? Is receiving as easy and pleasurable as the giving side? Very often the answer is no. We are taught to continually push past our limits, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. When we are given a compliment or accolades for a job well done, our automatic reply is “it was nothing” and deflect the gift....
When I talk with my clients lately, it seems nearly everyone has been grappling with a decrease in census. Are people just not dying as frequently as in the past? Are other providers stepping up to offer similar types of care thus sidestepping hospice or is it some other mysterious thing that is happening?!
We pursue referrals in all kinds of ways; we pass out brochures at doctor’s offices, assisted living communities, and senior centers; we give logo pens to discharge planners who we hope will call us looking for hospice care. We may pay search engines to put our ads above other results, when people go online to search phrases like “hospice near me”. These are all solid strategies – but do they go far enough?
Part of the challenge in engaging the community is that we’re balkanized in the public imagination because of the function we serve. It’s not news that people are by and large afraid of death – and though we as hospice...