Annie’s Gateway to Hospice: Support for Families Caring For Loved Ones

A Time For Reflection

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have to offer the many families, friends, and loved ones who are terminally ill. Over the last nine years it has become painfully apparent there is a tremendous need for education, guidance, and support for both the families and patients new to hospice. So many questions, so little time. 

I have felt an increasing urgency in the need to fill that gap, meet that demand, to the best of my ability as an RN experienced in hospice care,  clinical education, and oncology. It’s been a pleasure teaching individuals and families how to perform the many tasks involved in caring for loved ones. It’s also been heartbreaking, watching families grapple with the enormity of the job they’ve undertaken, once they realize the scope of it. 

I want to serve as an educator, a patient and family advocate, a guide to effective use of the medications commonly prescribed for this transition, equipment they’ll probably need and how to donate the supplies and equipment when no longer needed, how to care for their loved one once they become bedbound, how to prevent aspiration, how to talk about what is happening to each of them and their changing roles in the family, rituals regarding death in different cultures, what paperwork they’ll need to complete–just basically how to cope. And that’s the short list.

I’m not sure what form this will take. However, I’m relatively sure I will be writing a booklet, forming a company, enlisting caregivers for hire, and continuing the equipment donation and allocation project I began about 5 years ago here in Sonoma County. 

I know I can make a difference, have made a difference, by providing compassionate care to many. I intend to continue making a difference in people’ lives during their transitions in hospice. What a gift, to be able to continue to serve this patient population. 

I’ll keep you updated as my fledgling organization takes shape. Exciting times, transitions…

As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome. 

Loving hugs,

Annie RN

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