Stop! Is This a Last Time Moment?

Last times. As a hospice nurse, I think about these moments, sometimes you see them coming, and sometimes you don’t. I went to a continuous care case one evening in an elderly couple’s condo. I spent the night in the bedroom with my patient who looked like a tiny little doll in a big oversized…

10 Things I Hate About Being a Hospice Nurse

I’ve been a hospice nurse for over fifteen years, and I have cared for patients in a variety of settings. Although I started out on a completely different path those many years ago after college, personal circumstances later in life pointed me in the direction of hospice. So grateful that it did, as I can…

The Day I Met Poverty

In 1998 I was a newly certified hospice volunteer. My third assignment had me pulling into a dirt driveway off a well traveled road only forty minutes from my home. As I parked my car I tried to look for the house number to confirm that this was indeed the right place as this was…

The 5 Stages of Grief: Acceptance

Acceptance. The final stage among the 5 stages of grief. Interesting isn’t it? To think that there could be any other stage that would end the grief cycle and allow us to die. At some point, whether it be in that final breath, or weeks before, there comes a time, where one accepts the inevitable…

The 5 Stages of Grief: Depression

Margaret had been at the hospice house a couple days when I first met her. At 81 she had some periods of confusion, but for the most part her mind was pretty sharp. She had originally come in for symptom management, but the doctor was now thinking that she may be entering the active phase…

The 5 Stages of Grief: Bargaining

The 5 stages of grief as identified by Dr Elisabeth Kubler Ross are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages can become ways that both the dying and their loved ones cope with the long journey ahead. We have looked at denial and anger in previous posts. All the stages are well traveled  before a person’s…

What is a Good Death Experience?

What is a good death experience? How can the words good and death even be thought of in the same sentence you may wonder? Most people don’t even think about death until it hits close to home. But when death does come sneaking up on you, most just assume it will be the most devastating,…

The 5 Stages of Grief: Anger

As I mentioned in my previous post on denial, there is an accepted pattern in the stages of grieving that the dying and their loved ones will go through as they journey through the dying process. Dr Elisabeth Kubler Ross was the first to describe these 5 stages of grief and labeled them as denial,…

The 5 Stages of Grief: Denial

Dr Elisabeth Kubler Ross was a very interesting woman, and early in her career as a psychiatrist, she decided to take the unheard of approach of asking a dying patient directly about their dying. Conventional wisdom of the day was that you did not tell the person they were dying and that everyone else other…

Shared Story from Steven

My mom passed away a little over 2 years ago in South Florida (where my people go to die).  She was 96 and had lived long enough to outlive most of her family and her friends.  She was ready. Once when a doctor told her she would live to be 100, she told him, “Don’t…