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Opinion essay useful language for hospice - …

Opinion essay useful language for hospice

As my visits increased with a particular patient, the pain they experienced would increase and that was something that was difficult to deal with. It's hard when you are not qualified to do anything to diminish their pain, but all you want to do is help make them feel better. Another surprise was how close I became to the caregivers. I truly felt their gratitude towards my visits and that made me feel even better about the experience. Not only was I helping the patient, but I was also helping their loved ones. All of these encounters helped influence my perspective on the end of life experience and I will cherish the memories I shared with these families forever. I am very grateful to Hospice for giving me the opportunity to share experiences with their patients and learn more about myself as a person in the process.

Interestingly the patient had retained every note, lab, hospital H&P and discharge summary in a file folder in her possession.

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In thinking about being a doctor, in dealing with other people's health, death is something that can happen at any time. Having learned about end stage life, and realizing that the end of life looks different on every person is one of the most profound understandings of medicine I have gotten. It is a reminder that illness will affect different people in different ways. It is also a reminder of the importance of remembering that each patient is an individual with different needs, and that what one patient needs may not be good for a different patient with the same illness.
This realization is one that I feel like many doctors should take more into consideration. It made me think a lot about the kind of doctors my parents do not like; the kinds who pile many patients into a couple of hours, and do not give the time necessary to really asses and be with each individual. I think that being with an individual and being present as a doctor is one of the best ways a doctor can help their patient. Being present is something I learned in hospice, but it is a quality that reaches the people you are interacting with.

It is surprising to me that within medical school and the entire process that goes into becoming a doctor, there is no requirement for any sort of hospice work. It reminds me of an article I read titled When Doctors Grieve by Leeat Granek, which discusses grief of doctors. In thinking about this article it puzzles me that there is no grief training, or work like hospice work, because it is such important and preparative work, especially for doctors who work with high-risk patients. From what I understand about medical school, students are not given any real training on grief and when moved into the professional world, have no exposure to grief, but then are negatively viewed if they express it. I think that doing hospice work has helped me with learning about grief. I was worried that when I started doing hospice, I would not be able to separate my job as a volunteer from whatever connections I made with my patient and their family. I was worried that I would be in serious grief, which is something I constantly worry about when thinking about being a doctor.

Within hospice youare dealing with a patient that has been given a diagnosis of having 6 months orless to live.

One of the things I found particularly interesting about hospice is how caretakers and friends act around the sick individual. Some caretakers act as if the person isn't even in the room whereas other acknowledge their presence, but treat them like they have the mental capacity of a small child. For example, caregivers whisper bad words or use unnecessarily high-pitched exaggerated speech. I was always curious about how the patients felt about this, and whether they felt any agency in the situation. My understanding of hospice is that it intends to provide dignity and choice to those who are dying. These aims make a lot of sense to me and I agree with trying to change the way the dying are treated in our society. However, it always struck me how helpless those requiring the service seem to be. I suppose that they would not have any more agency in a hospital setting, but I wonder for whom hospice service really improves life. On one hand, the families that I saw really loved hospice and had great things to say about all the people involved. On the other, they were clearly exhausted from having a person dying in their own home and were eager for any chance to get a break. There is no easy way to handle a loved one dying, but it occurred to me that for some caregivers, the strain of seeing the process happening might be psychologically traumatic and more difficult than beneficial. I have no good answer to the question of how end of life care should work, and I think hospice has the right goals in mind, but it definitely brings a whole new host of issues to the table.

However, hospice nursing is typically given to patients with a terminal illness and who have less than six months to live.

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Standard PF.2 reads:

The patient and family receive education and training specific to the patient's
assessed needs, abilities, and readiness, as appropriate to the care and service
provided by the organization.

As part of it's overall education plan, a hospice develops written teaching
materials geared toward family members and caregivers on caring for a hospice
patient in the home.

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But the loudest part of my subconscious insisted all the while that regardless of whether l was likely or not to encounter the opportunity for genuine human connection, certainly I would not be capable of seizing that opportunity - of letting something affect me when my entire life I have been trained, just like so many other ambitious youth, to forge through life callous to adversity and steadfast in my self-image, indelibly committed to garnering knowledge and mastering career-oriented skills.

When my uncle died last year following a precipitous decline from historically immaculate health, I was beset not only with confusion as to what I should feel, but more importantly, confusion as to why I was confused. Why shouldn't my emotions have been clearly defined and reflect the standard cocktail of grief-related symptoms that ensue following loss of a loved one? I felt that despite the novelty of the experience for me, I should not have even been able to accommodate this complexity of thought, which should have instead been diluted beyond retrieval by illogical (or, more accurately, un-logical) passions and drowned by involuntary tears. Even now, as I watch my grandfather proceed through an inevitable, though perhaps less abrupt change in reality, I feel strangely removed from the consequences of this shift, as though I have forced myself towards detachment by replacing anachronistic sentiments with more pragmatic considerations of the 'natural order of things'.

From working in hospice, I have gradually come to the realization that like death, enlightenment too will come in its time and place, and that to presume otherwise would be to undermine its value, and render it unworthy of pursuit in the first place. Just like satisfaction, love, and happiness, enlightenment would lose its meaning if we didn't toil on in its absence for significant stretches of our lives. That being said, my variable experiences with patients have in conjunction altered my perspectives on the way I should conduct myself and the way I interpret the worth of my actions to the world that hosts me. Whereas I have been raised to seek, and then satisfy some objective criteria for creating a productive existence for myself, hospice volunteering has led me to acknowledge that one's function in life and influence on the surrounding world is not and cannot be deliberately decided by the intentions of the individual alone, no matter how good or bad, productive or apathetic they may be. In fact, your actions likely have at least as much relevance for the community in which they occur than they have for you. Therefore, even if I do not discover something new about myself in the process of volunteering with hospice services, my presence and engagement can still have an overall positive effect- this effect may just occur somewhere else in the so-called grand scheme. But then, of course perhaps I actually have learned something new about myself.

I am not a particularly religious person, and as a scientific person I find myself constantly confronted with reasons not to place faith in any divine intangible entity. However, if there is a type of faith with which I am comforted to proceed, it is the (albeit blind) faith that with time, and perhaps some degree of well-intended earnestness, life's variables will assort themselves in some acceptable manner. I could not begin to articulate how, yet I could not be more convinced that the sentiment contained in that philosophy, which has matured greatly over the course of volunteering in hospice, will improve the way I conduct myself as a physician in a way that none of my sentiments to this point could have.