Hospice Austin’s Blog
Instead of this being the most wonderful time of the year, perhaps it’s really just the MOST time of the year, as a favorite podcaster of mine likes to say. No month insists on cheerfulness more than this one. It’s as if everything has been turned up a few notches. If finances are a struggle, they may feel even more so right now. If you are grieving, the intensity of that experience may be heightened. If you are traveling, anxiety about flights and road conditions may be increased. Even if you are excited about the season, the shopping, cooking, hosting, and special events can feel impossible to manage on top of regular responsibilities. If everything feels like too much and you feel like not enough, I promise you are not alone.
When Joe Jimenez was dying after suffering a heart attack and stroke in 2016, his 21-year-old son, Joey, promised his father that he would remain at home to look after his mother and younger brother. It was a responsibility he took seriously.
I am honored to serve on the Hospice Austin Operating Board of Directors for many reasons.
First, Hospice Austin has Camp Brave Heart. I was drawn to volunteer at the bereavement camp for children who lost a loved one. Having lost my mom when I was a teenager, I can empathize with these kids’ loss and grief, so helping at camp seemed natural.
Herb Dyer served a combined 9 years on Hospice Austin’s Operating Board and three years on Hospice Austin’s Fund Board. When the current Operating Board of Directors asked him recently if he would consider accepting a position as Hospice Austin’s Interim Executive Director, he agreed. It’s still all about the service.
We want to give our community the opportunity to tour our beloved Christopher House, as well as learn more about the people inside these walls who bring comfort to our patients and families! Here are just a few of these heroes.
Over the past six years, Hospice Austin RN Shelly Robichaux has cared for close to 100 patients at Avalon Memory Care, an assisted living community in Cedar Park. Shelly is part of Hospice Austin’s Partners Team, who cares exclusively for patients in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities.
Once upon a time, there was a small oak sapling living in a beautiful oak grove near the Blanco River that runs through John Knox Ranch. The sapling was young and tender and soaked up all the warm sunshine, refreshing rain, and good soil until gradually it grew into a sturdy young tree, hearty and strong.
One night, however, a terrible storm swept through the ranch. There was lashing rain, booming thunder and streaks of lightening that lit up the sky.
A patient recently observed that Hospice Austin physicians are like the doctors in times gone by. Anne* has been on our service for almost a year. During that time, she has been in various settings: home, long-term care facility, and Hospice Austin’s Christopher House.
“I didn’t think they did things like this anymore – it’s like the old doctors that used to make house calls,” Anne said. “You form relationships. It means a lot to me, that there’s someone in this world that cares.”
Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies cover hospice care. And, as a nonprofit organization, Hospice Austin provides care to all who need us, regardless of a patient’s disease or ability to pay.
It’s 2 a.m. and my pager goes off. I call into the hospital and the nurse who paged me states that an elderly patient is on a ventilator. The patient’s physicians have been gently recommending for a while that the family consider removing artificial life- sustaining treatment as the patient is incurable and has no neurological activity. The patient never completed any advance directives so the medical team does not have any clear guidance on what the patient would want. Now the patient is unresponsive and unable to communicate, and the family is in heated conflict about what to do.