Planning for the Home Death

Many, if not most of my patients, if given the choice, said they would prefer to die at home. In fact, I’ve spent half my career as a hospice nurse sitting at the bedside inside my patient’s home. The other half of my career was spent at the hospice care centers, and a smaller portion at…

Don’t Tell Dad He’s Dying

I once had a patient’s daughter pull me aside after her father had been admitted to the hospice care center.  “Don’t tell my dad he’s dying. He is too high anxiety, he won’t be able to take it. Seriously, it would kill him.” When I mentioned that my name tag had hospice written on it,…

Acceptance in the Now

I’ve had many interesting conversations with patients over the years, some of whom had rather different backgrounds from me to put it mildly. I remember one man in particular, much taller than me, mid forties, arms covered in gang tattoos, missing teeth, and thin as a rail. “You wouldn’t have liked the old me, Katarina”…

Turn Left Here

Was thinking back today of when a coworker of mine, an older nurse, had lost her husband of forty something years. She had just returned to work after taking some time off to grieve her loss. We were all particularly apprehensive when she came back as she had lost her son only a year before…

What Difference Would Hospice Care Make?

For those wondering what hospice is about, and more specifically, what difference would it make in a person’s life who is dying, let me enlighten you. To understand hospice you must first understand the idea of palliative care. Palliative care is an interdisciplinary team approach to treat any serious illness without an aim to cure….

Can the Dying Hear Us?

I remember back when my dad was dying, and at this point unresponsive, to a time when our hospice nurse came to the house for a visit. We were all gathered in my father’s bedroom and watched as the nurse did her physical assessment. Being new at this point, to the whole dying experience, I…