Posts Tagged ‘end-of-life care

Houston Hospice Nurses: Life Matters And This Is What It’s All About

As I walk the halls of Houston Hospice’s inpatient unit, whispers can be heard coming from multiple patient rooms. Peering into one room, a nurse is seen comforting an elderly man wondering what life might be like when his wife of 54 years will no longer be at his side. Across the hall, a nurse listens as a teenage boy asks her what heaven might be like when he gets there; nervous that he won’t know anyone when he gets there. Continuing down the hall, I see into the room on the left, a nurse is teaching a man’s sister how to administer his medications in preparation for him to go home; something he has been longing for since the day he found out he was ill. In the room up ahead to the right a nurse works diligently at the bedside of her newly-admitted 31 year old patient to get the pain caused by her breast cancer managed as the patient’s parents stand watching with tears streaming down their faces. I continue walking the hall, and I feel an overwhelming sense of pride for my wonderful team of nurses.

Here at Houston Hospice, the inpatient unit nurses provide a full-spectrum of physical, emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual care with the goal of preventing suffering and relieving symptoms to support the best possible quality of care for our patients and their families. As we enter National Nurses Week 2014, I would like to recognize and sincerely thank each and every Houston Hospice inpatient unit nurse as they are leaders in providing uncompromising and compassionate end-of-life care to our patients and families.

“And what nursing has to do … is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.” – Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What it is and what it is not.

Thank you, nurses, for all you do,

Jessica Rousseaux
Inpatient Unit Patient Care Managerholding hands

 

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day as a Caretaker

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that people love to love or love to hate. Some people love the idea of having a whole day to celebrate their love for their friends, family, and that special someone. Other people believe Valentine’s Day is a made up holiday to generate card, chocolate and flower sales. Whatever your opinion is, as a caretaker acknowledging Valentine’s Day can benefit your loved one.

If you take away all of the commercialization of Valentine’s Day what is left? The answer is simple- love. Dedicating a whole day of love for the people in your life is a great way to realize how valuable they are. As a caretaker, you are already a laborer of love. Balancing work and family is stressful enough. You choose to become a primary caretaker because of your deep love for your family member or friend.

This Valentine’s Day, take some time to think about the love you have for the friend or family member you are taking care of. In the chaos of trying to create a successful balancing act, it’s easy to forget why you are a caretaker. Think about great memories shared between the two of you and talk about them with your sick loved one. You don’t have to buy flowers, chocolates, or cards to celebrate your love for each other.

Also, don’t forget to celebrate the love you have for yourself. Take a moment to think about your characteristics that make you unique and special. When you love yourself you can love others even more. Don’t let yourself forget your worth or that you are a strong, caring person. Give yourself a giant hug and compliment.

Even though Valentine’s Day can seem a little over the top and excessive, don’t forget the message of love. Let others in your life know that you love them even if it’s a simple phone call or letter. And celebrate the love you have for yourself.

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World Alzheimer’s Month

This month is World Alzheimer’s Month and the 21 specifically is World Alzheimer’s Day. Over 5 million people in the United Statesare currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. As awareness is recognized this month for patients with the disease, those giving hospice care to patients should be saluted as well.

For each person that is living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia,  there is likely to be multiple others working with that person in an effort to provide the total care that is necessary to fight the disease. Alzheimer’s patients often need great care from a hospice or caregiver, especially in the latter stages of the disease as Dementia start to have a greater affect.

Even though the month is winding down in the next week or so, there are still plenty of ways you can recognize and increase awareness of the disease. You can have a great impact by wearing purple a few times this month to spread the message of Alzheimer’s awareness. Also, supporters can have an impact on Facebook by changing their profile pictures to the End Alz icon created by the Alzheimer’s Association.

This year, supporters are trying to spread awareness of the different effects of dementia. The fact that Alzheimer’s can affect anyone of any race, both men and women of any status or background makes it a disease that people should be highly aware of. Alzheimer’s is a disease that can transform an elderly person who seems independent into a patient who is completely dependent on care giving for their daily activities. 

Locally, this is where the impact of a hospice can come in. In Houston, there are not only Alzheimer’s patients in need of a care giver, but also patients suffering from multiple other diseases. For many of the elderly living independently, their lives could change overnight. With the help of respite care, the elderly will be given the proper amount of diligence and care in a Houston apartment or home. They are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, therapists, a chaplain and volunteers.

As the month of September draws to a close, we should aim to increase the awareness of this impactful disease by spreading knowledge throughout World Alzheimer’s Month. The effort in these months of awareness has a great impact by informing thousands throughout the world about the importance of hospice and respite care.

This article was written by guest blogger Paige Taylor, a recent graduate from the University of Texas El Paso.

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