Hospice Austin’s Blog
One of our patients in a nursing facility used to see his daughter every day. He’s elderly, and almost completely deaf. His Hospice Austin nurse, Sara Templeton, said that though he wears a hearing aid, he can only make out some of what you say if you put your mouth to his ear and yell. Seeing his daughter was the highlight of his day, but of course that ended when his facility had to restrict visitors due to COVID-19.
Precarity is the moment we are living in. It’s not easy and most of us are ready to get safely to the other side of this scary railroad bridge. To do that we need one another, all of us, working together to keep one another safe, fed, and well cared for. We also need self-compassion. Lots of it. More than ever. Because, while we have been through other hard things, we haven’t ever been through this particular hard thing.
Brian King has served as an on-call nurse and as a nurse practitioner for Hospice Austin for over 20 years. In all that time he has been the gold standard for what outstanding, compassionate, comprehensive nursing care looks and feels like. In addition to being bright and kind, Brian is exceptionally skilled at what he does and has a gift for making people feel at ease and calm during what for most is a very anxious and uncertain time. He is thorough in preparing to meet each patient, reading through their medical chart completely; steady and patient as he talks and listens to them so that they feel seen and heard; encouraging and warm such that those he serves are able to relax and know that they are in good hands.
Three of the five nurses selected as finalists in the hospice category in the Austin American-Statesman's Recognizing Nurses competition are from Hospice Austin. The public may vote online for a finalist once a day through May 1, then the top three finalists will be...
Koreana Chanterelle is a highly intuitive person and uses that superpower every day when serving our patients during the most difficult journey of their lives. She joins her patients and their loved ones on this journey, sitting with them in their pain while also providing comfort and expert care. She is a teacher, tailoring her communications to the singular needs of every patient, walking into highly challenging situations to convey calm, reassurance, and deep compassion. This is no easy task given all of the day-to-day expectations of a nurse operating in the hospice sphere.
These uncertain times have been challenging for most of us; for parents of terminally ill children, they are particularly frightening. Not only do parents worry about their child being exposed to the virus, many of them were already financially impacted by their child’s illness before this current crisis.
The evening was uneventful; I just needed a charger for my laptop (ouch, a $100 forgetful mistake). I walked into the Barton Creek Apple Store, grabbed the charger and ended up face-to-face with Tony for payment. Little did I know, I was about to receive a powerful lesson about the art of being present.
During this time of global uncertainty, we wanted to let you know the steps Hospice Austin is taking to help keep our patients, families, volunteers and staff safe.
I have been a singer and choir director my entire life and have witnessed the joy of music-making in a wide variety of ways from enabling adults to sing classical pieces that they thought were beyond their abilities, to teaching young children to sing simple refrains that helped them memorize and claim words of faith. I have also seen the joy on the faces of senior adults in care facilities light up as we have sung together songs from their youth and childhood. Now I am experiencing the miracle of music touching the mind and the soul of those who are locked in the isolating world of dementia.
We often get letters from family members after a patient has died, but recently Hospice Austin Executive Director Marjorie Mulanax received this lovely letter from Deborah Wallis, the sister of our current patient, Jeffrey Wallis, about his nurse.