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Hospice Austin’s Blog

Celebrating our CNAs: Brenda Maul-Diaz

Celebrating our CNAs: Brenda Maul-Diaz

I’m hands on – we are there to give patients love and everything they need. I like that we can spend time with them. I’ve worked with patients on the home team and now here at Christopher House. I like both.  Giving the patients a bath, applying lotion and oils – they love it – it’s so relaxing for them.

I was on the COVID-19 Response Team over 6 months. I wanted to be there to help them.

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Celebrating our CNAs: Jack Harrison

Celebrating our CNAs: Jack Harrison

A lot of my patients are men who have been in the military and don’t feel they need assistance but they do. Some of them say, “I’m gonna die before I let someone assist me!” If I have a stubborn patient, we sit down and talk and get to know each other. Many times we have a lot in common and don’t realize it.

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Celebrating our CNAs: Alma Vasquez

Celebrating our CNAs: Alma Vasquez

I’ve been a CNA for 30 years. I started shortly out of high school. My mom said, “Come work where I work.” She’s a CNA, her sisters are CNAs, my cousin is a CNA. It was just in our family – they are so loving and giving and compassionate.

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Camp Brave Heart Accepting Applications

Camp Brave Heart Accepting Applications

I remember when we started Camp Brave Heart for grieving children over 20 years ago. We were certain that the need was there – most kids and teens knew no other child who had a loved one die and felt very isolated – but we weren’t sure how it would go. Would anyone attend? Would it be fun? Would it be healing?

Last year we had those same questions when we decided to hold the camp online over Zoom. A surprising number of kids attended. And yes, it was fun; yes, it was healing. The kids made connections, both with one another and with their own grief.

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The Creativity of Our Volunteers

The Creativity of Our Volunteers

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.

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Holding Space

Holding Space

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.

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On the Frontlines

On the Frontlines

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.

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Bravery: Having the Strength to be Vulnerable

Bravery: Having the Strength to be Vulnerable

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.

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Bravery: Living Outside Your Comfort Zone

Bravery: Living Outside Your Comfort Zone

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. 

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January Bereavement Offerings

January Bereavement Offerings

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...

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