Hospice Austin’s Blog
Since Hospice Austin volunteers haven’t been able to visit with patients in person for the past year, they’ve had to get creative. Some have kept connected to patients via phone calls or porch visits; others have organized food drives to stock our food pantry. They’ve donated supplies such as adult coloring books, chocolate, and other gifts for our customized gift baskets for patients. Our musicians have played concerts outside of patients’ rooms in the courtyard at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House.
Dying is hard, not just physically, but psychologically. It’s fraught with emotional landmines of worry for loved ones, traumas or regret over the past, and fear of the future. Hospice Austin social workers must delicately navigate these minefields in order to help patients achieve peace. It means building trust in often a short amount of time and entails helping patients and loved ones organize and process their feelings around mortality.
Certified Nurse Aide Blanche Pichon-Benford doesn’t consider herself brave. Neither does RN Valerie Sims, or Social Worker Rachel Poppers. Yet they were among the first to volunteer for Hospice Austin’s COVID-19 Response Team in March, back when little was known about the disease and fear was rampant. Since then, they’ve provided care for many patients and families with COVID. Blanche just got three new patients with the virus this week.
Bravery to me is standing up for what’s right when it’s hard to do. It’s choosing to do the right thing, over the popular thing. It’s a willingness to go at something alone or with others even in the face of uncertainty. Bravery is having the strength to be vulnerable.
I often think about the feeling of fear I have when I’m climbing. I concentrate my focus to just the task at hand (not falling, the next hold), and safety becomes priority. This is not unlike how this past year has been for me – now I just exchange the rope for PPE.
Winter Memorial Jan. 28th, 7:00 - 8:30 pm via Zoom Register Now Are you feeling your grief more intensely due to the social distance we continue to live in? Have you lost a loved one during the pandemic? Were you not able to have a memorial due to COVID-19? If you...
The start of a new year – especially this new year – is the perfect time to plan ahead. With COVID-19 still with us, thinking and talking about what kind of healthcare we might want, if there comes a time we can’t speak for ourselves, is the greatest gift we can give to those we love.
A patient came in to Hospice Austin’s Christopher House who was not able to eat and was nonverbal except to say “yes” “no,” and “whoops.” He had no family that anyone knew of. Hospice Austin’s Christopher House RN and Team Leader Keisha Jones realized he could swallow and asked him if he was hungry.
Since having a close loved one receive hospice care years ago and having a friend draw his last breath at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House, I have known and respected the incredible work of the Hospice Austin staff for quite some time. Now I am privileged to chair Hospice Austin’s Board of Directors, which has given me a closer view. I admire what I see: I’m so impressed each day by the positive things I witness about the Hospice Austin team.
Regardless of whether you’ve had the chance to prepare for it, losing a loved one is a time of grief, raw emotion, and stress. The last thing a family in mourning needs is to be worried about the steep costs of memorial services.