Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Aspects of Dying
The last decade saw an evolution in the way Americans think about death. Palliative care became recognized as a medical specialty and is often contrasted with curative care, but the lines between cure and the relief of suffering are blurry. Today we recognize that death is a complex and multi layered process. Those who serve understand that a holistic approach to death is what is needed in order to serve at the highest level and from the heart space. Hospice is centered on how patients can choose to live while they are dying. How does one get the most out of life while they are still here? What is the best way to create the highest quality in the time left to live?
A team approach is made to each patient involved in end of life care who comes into the hospice program. This includes a doctor, a nurse, a nurse’s aide, a social worker and a chaplain. The tendency today is to divide and conquer – take the team approach,but find out from the patient in any way that is available what is really needed in order to prepare and even to intervene on a patient’s behalf.
Comfort care has gone from the definition of pain symptom management expanded to complimentary modalities, including everything from music, to knowing who and how a beloved pet will be cared for after the owner’s death. The overriding impetus is compassion for the patient and a heart to be of real service to that person and their needs.