Your Hospice Care Team: Soothing body, mind and spirit
Posted by Katie Fernandez, RN, BSN, CHPN
For World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, Nurse Katie Fernandez explains the team-based approach care patients and their loved ones receive through hospice.
I have been working with hospice patients for 15 years. My role as a hospice nurse is tightly woven into the team I work with: physicians, other registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. We collaborate as we work together to manage the needs of those we care for. I am deeply grateful to work with committed professionals as we apply our strengths to soothe the physical, emotional and spiritual struggles that patients and families are dealing with.
Like all the teams that care for our patients, my team meets every week. We discuss the goals of care, how patients and families are coping and what may make life a bit easier for them.
Here are some of the questions we ask:
- Would music-thanatology or music therapy help soothe the anxiety, restlessness or shortness of breath?
- Would my patient like the name of a traveling beautician she can hire privately for a haircut?
- Would our patient benefit from a massage from one of our massage therapists?
One of the challenges we find is that so many patients begin our care long after they have been eligible for hospice services. If I have one suggestion, it would be to talk to one of us by the time you are thinking about hospice. We would love to be part of your health care team. We work alongside your primary care physicians and support your goals of care. While we are skilled with medications that manage symptoms, we also offer emotional and spiritual support as well. This is the beauty of having a dedicated and specially trained care team.
I make conscious decisions to care for our hospice patients the way I hope my loved ones will be cared for. Families are often in crisis and patients are feeling quite vulnerable. My hope is that they feel safe and reassured as we come into their lives.
We know discussions, such as choosing hospice, are difficult. We also know that patients and families have already struggled by the time we walk in the door. However, it is often a relief to talk about what has been happening, and to know that there is help available.
JourneyCare is available to anyone in our community who might have questions ̶ 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us online or at 224-770-2489.
Visit our website to learn more about care options for living with serious illness.