Hospice: An Unexpected Push Toward Life
by Erica Barnes
Hospice exists to offer dignity, comfort, and peace to dying patients. But sometimes, it can be an unexpected push toward life. That’s what it was for one of the patients I encountered toward the end of 2018 – this story of one woman’s resurgence truly inspired me.
We had a patient on hospice service for nine months and then discharged her because services were no longer appropriate for her.
Here’s what happened:
She was admitted to hospice with renal failure. When I met her, it seemed like a routine hospice admission. Aggressive treatment was no longer an option due to failing health. She was room-bound, displayed significant mental health issues, and could not make decisions for herself. Her family began preparing for the worse. It seemed like the end.
Our hospice team focused on her specific needs – mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. Over time, her care team was able to find a medication regimen that worked for her, subsiding her severe anxiety and discomfort.
She started to become more and more alert and voicing concerns all on her own. And soon, she came out of her room, accompanied our chaplain to a Bible study, and even made a trip to the beauty shop (she received a wonderful new hairdo, by the way)!
Remarkably, this patient, once disillusioned and recluse had gained the will to live! Next, she decided to pursue aggressive treatment again. Her kidneys held on long enough for her to be able to do this.
From a personal perspective, this inspires me to hold on – stick in there – give it all that I have! Professionally, I’m grateful to be a part of this hospice team. It was truly a display of patient-centered care —one-on-one, and love-focused.
Hospice is here to support the patient in whatever they may need, even if it means helping them to see what other options are available to them and change their focus from comfort treatment to curative treatment.
This article was submitted by Erica Barnes. Erica is a member of the account executive team for Absolute Home Health & Hospice. Her role is to maintain and initiate relationships. She develops new opportunities to serve the community with our valued services – they include but are not limited to, community outreach, working with physician and facilities to promote our offerings, and playing an integral part in our patient care cycle.
Erica got her start in the medical field when she became an STNA shortly after graduating high school. But it wasn’t until she became a hospice nurse years later that her eyes were opened to a passion she didn’t know existed.
Erica, and husband, Tom live in Canal Fulton with their two boys Tommy (7), and Jeri (3).