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Blog: Hospice Views

Stories from a Hospice Social Worker: Patrick Loughlin

social worker stories Patrick Loughlin

I see our social work role as a resource for individuals. Coming into a situation where somebody is at end of life, I see our responsibility to make sure that all their needs are being met.

I think it’s always been important as a social worker to make sure communication is open, that everybody is as on the same page as much as possible and to make sure that the individual we’re caring for, that their voice is heard.

The Crossroads Gift of a Day

When I talk about the Gift of a Day, I talk about what might be most important to that person. The first Gift of a Day event that comes to mind when I think about my time here at Crossroads was with an individual, a 52-year-old man who had two young daughters. This was around June or July, and it was pretty evident that this person was not going to make it to Christmas.

This needs to be very private. Anyone who sees this video needs to keep this a secret.

I have a Santa Claus suit and get dressed up as Santa Claus. A lot. Obviously, mostly around Christmas.

We came up with the idea of doing a Christmas in July for his kids.

It’s always been impactful to me – whether it’s somebody that’s 80 years old or an 8 year old or an 8 month old – the reaction that you can get dressed up in that red suit.

For that event, we figured out some things the kids would enjoy if it was around Christmas – what they would have asked for around the holiday. So I wrapped them up, and I put them in my Santa sack.

We made a visit one night at the nursing facility he was living in, and the reaction of the kids was priceless. That’s what you do this kind of thing for.

It was the opportunity for him to share one last Christmas several months before because he wasn’t going to be here for the actual holiday.

 

Patrick Loughlin
Social Worker
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care