By Victor Montour
As a community liaison for Front Range Hospice and Palliative Care I’m blessed with many opportunities to meet some wonderful people. Just recently I was asked to meet with the patient and the family at one of our area hospitals to discuss palliative care and what services are provided with Community Based Palliative Care.
The next day I was called by the patient’s son and asked to come to the home to discuss hospice services. When I arrived at the patient’s home he was sitting outside enjoying the morning air, the fresh smell of the morning dew was heavy. I sat with the patient, his son, daughter-in-law and his daughter called in from out of state. I first talked with the patient to establish his goals for medical care. It was profound to discover the patient was asking for someone to talk with him openly and honest about his prognosis. He also was clear that his largest fear was losing his mind. He wanted to remain sharp and in control. After a long conversation with him and his family, reviewing the pros and cons of seeking treatment, the patient wanted to start hospice care.
Over the last week the team from Front Range Hospice and Palliative Care provided legendary end of life care. The patient was placed on daily Registered Nursing (RN) visits to ensure maximum comfort was obtained and maintained. The RN’s were called out to the home, as needed, a number of times day and night to help manage the patient’s terminal agitation. (To learn more about terminal restlessness / agitation read our blog “A Major Distressful Symptom in The Dying”) The nursing team from Front Range Hospice and Palliative Care provided endless support to the patient and the family.
A final call from the family came in the middle of the night informing the on-call nurse that the patient had passed away peacefully in his bed. The nurse made her way to the home and provided one last time the support this family came to expect from our team. The nurse completed her nursing functions and then turned to the family and sat with them a bit and provided them the reassurance they needed to hear.
As a liaison I frequently get calls from families for assistance of various kinds. I received a call from the patient’s daughter-in-law asking to meet with me at 10:00 am. I was asked to come to the home to meet in person with the family. When I arrived, I had the pleasure of meeting with the patient’s daughter from out of town, the son and daughter-in law. The three of them shared with me their experience while on this journey with their father. The wonderful things that the family had to say were just amazing.
They all agreed that their hospice RN Haley was the perfect nurse for their dad. She was amazing, they recounted with me how Haley helped their father get into his camper one last time. They shared that he loved his camper and spent more time in there than the house. The family voiced they will never forget this selfless act of kindness shown to their father.
As we talked more, the family made special mention of RN Heather. Heather brought them a sense of calm with her soft tone and warm smile. They shared that they felt Heather was there just for them, they never felt rushed or felt like she was in a hurry to move onto her next patient.
I could go on and on about this meeting and list every team member that provided legendary care to this patient and family. Over all the meeting was wonderful, they were impacted by this journey they traveled with us in such a positive way that they wanted to share their story. It was important for them to tell their truth and to validate how this experience has impacted them and us forever.
The end of life journey doesn’t have to be a scary. It can be filled with love, laughter, goodbyes and most of all wonderful memories till the end.
All of us at Front Range Hospice and Palliative Care send out heart felt thank you to this family and all of the other families for allowing us to be apart of this special time. It is an honor to be at your side during the most intimate time in your life.
If you would like more information about Front Range Hospice please call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org