Hospice Doesn’t Kill You

In my years in hospice I have heard the occasional snide comments, directly or indirectly, when family or friends have been dissatisfied with hospice services. I can understand the complaint of not liking a nurse or aide, or doctor’s personality and asking for a switch in caregivers. If I were dealing with the dying care…

Changing Definitions

Definitions have a way of changing as you get older, ever notice? For instance, remember back in your 20’s when you thought being in your 40’s seemed old? Then you reached your mid 30’s and 40 didn’t seem old at all, am I right? So when my kids slip and tell me of some encounter…

Grief Quotes, Because Finding The Right Words Can Be Hard

Death is the heartache no one can heal,
 memories are keepsakes no one can steal.
 Beautiful memories are all we have left, of the ones we loved and will never forget.
 Softly the leaves of memory fall,
 gently we gather and cherish them all.
 Planted deep in memory’s garden 
and watered daily with tears,
 memory…

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…

My Loved One is Dying, Should I Stay or Should I Go?

As a hospice nurse I am frequently asked by family at the end of the day, “Should I stay or should I go?” or “Call me if anything changes.” When a person is imminent the only change is death. The hard part is that a person can be imminent for many hours or days. Time…

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…

Do You Get It Now?

Many years ago as I sat through my first hospice orientation, I participated in an activity that was aimed at enlightening us to the fact that we were all entering our hospice patient’s lives at a time when the world as they knew it was becoming smaller and smaller. The exercise was supposed to get…

Should You be Worried That Your Loved One is Seeing Dead People?

No. This is actually quite common among those who are actively dying. Seeing dead loved ones or other unseen beings in the room oftentimes has a calming effect on the dying person in my experience. Generally, the dying person makes comment on seeing someone not for validation, but rather to inform. I once walked into…

Practical Tips for Caregiving at Home

Many caregivers are overwhelmed with the idea of caring for someone at home. They see their loved one becoming weaker and more dependent and although their heart is willing, their bodies worry about the day after day physical aspects of providing care. Here are some practical tips on how to make daily life a bit…