With spring quickly approaching, we often think of this as a time of growth, rather than death. Today, April 5, at our weekly incubator meeting, Amherst Community Connections welcomed Ilsa Meyers to talk with us about hospice and the emotions that come along with hospice care.
Many of us have heard about hospice before but may not fully understand what it means or what it entails. Ilsa described hospice as a healthcare provider to those who have a terminal illness, which means they are no longer going to live past six months. Hospice offers physical and emotional support to the person seeking treatment and their family during this end of life period.
Hospice care centers such as Fisher Home and Cooley Dickinson utilize the team approach when it comes to care. Volunteers, nurses, doctors, and social workers all work closely together and frequently communicate to ensure that patients are getting the highest quality of care. Ilsa spoke about volunteers and the thorough selection process they go through to make certain they are choosing the best candidates. She discussed how a good volunteer must be a chameleon, in that they must be able to change their attitude and behavior based upon the patient’s different needs. Volunteers must go in without any expectations and behave according to cues from the patient.
A phrase often associated with hospice is death with dignity. Those who work with patients in hospice are there to support and empower them in this delicate time in their life. Elsa reminded us not to fear death, and that death is viewed and interpreted differently by everyone.
By: Lauren White