The time comes when all of us must face death. It may come quickly and unexpectedly. Or it could come as a diagnosis of a terminal illness, giving us more time to consider and process end-of-life care.
Many people have the misconception that hospice is only for the actively dying and that choosing hospice means giving up hope. Maybe they are afraid to let go because then it means it could happen to them. Maybe they are afraid that choosing comfort care only can mean choosing death.
Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. Some even come in pairs or with four legs. Samantha Schmidt and her pup Rocket are one of our most unique volunteer teams.
Samantha’s interest in hospice grew from her previous work as a CNA. She saw hospice volunteers in action at the facility and admired how they were able to spend quality time with a patient. They were friendly and warm, and she knew when things slowed down in her hectic life, she would be one of those volunteers.
When a patient enters hospice care, questions about support often arise:
“Who will be their direct caregiver?”
“Will all of their needs be met?”
“Will they be comfortable?”
These concerns are extremely common. Caregivers always need reassurance that their loved ones are in capable hands. It is the job of medical professionals to provide the information and support that they need to feel secure with their decision to put a family member in hospice.
We are happy to announce Pam Henderson as the winner of the inaugural PJ Storley Memorial Nursing Recognition Award. PJ was a woman of strong character who dedicated her life as a registered nurse for Crossroads Hospice in Oklahoma City. She worked holidays, weekends, on call, and after hours. She would do any job that needed to be done. She loved her family, her friends, and her patients. Sadly, PJ died in March 2014 after a short terminal illness. Last May, PJ herself won the Staff Spotlight award and it is fitting that Pam Henderson receive the first award named in PJ’s memory. PJ was an inspiration to us all. To read PJ’s story, visit: http://blog.crossroadshospice.com/nurse-case-manager-staff-spotlight-pamela-pj-storley-rn/.
Denise Bynum and Debi Clark are caregivers through and through. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the sisters both became nurses in the area. Denise decided to work for Crossroads Hospice, a decision that became all the more significant to her and her family when the sisters’ roles as caregivers took an unexpected turn.
Five years ago, their mother Vira, who they know as “meemah,” began to exhibit symptoms of vascular dementia. In the past year, their stepfather – “peepah” – has begun to suffer from dementia, too. The couple has been together for over two decades and the last thing the daughters wanted was for them to be separated or have to leave their home, so they took on the caregiving responsibilities themselves.
As a young girl in junior choir, Lucy Haddock would sing at nursing homes. As she got older and had children of her own, she took them to visit nursing homes, too.
“I always had a calling toward older people and thought I’d like to volunteer in that area when my kids were older,” says Lucy.
Ten years ago, that opportunity presented itself in a newspaper blurb about a new hospice in the Atlanta area that was looking for volunteers. Lucy called the number and has been volunteering with Crossroads Hospice ever since.