My first job in long term care and working with seniors primarily was working as a social worker at a skilled nursing facility. Since 2000 I’ve been in the industry and have been privileged to work with people in various degrees of “trying to figure it out”. Some of my earliest observations I remember 11 years later. I was amazed how many residents did not have final arrangements made upon admission. More often than not this was truly a final arrangement, one that families were left with after the actual passing of their loved ones.
Most memorable, was my earliest experiences with residents in their dying process. While many parts of this process is so different from one person to the next, there are some common threads. Early on I was relieved to learn about hospice not as a bricks and mortar “place”, but a philosophy of care. One of my early mentors taught me that hospice isn’t giving up, but the focus switches to meeting people where they’re at with a focus on comfort. Professionals that work in the industry of long term care can really start to recognize when clients take this path. Of course there’s the obvious; not eating, not drinking….But there’s also often the searching the resident often does. Seeing “the little boy”, talking about the elevator…looking for loved ones.
I’ve had my first personal experience with hospice and it was with their help and guidance that my Grandmother comfortably slipped away in her sleep this morning. My only regret; not bring hospice on sooner.