Moving On: Heavy Hearts of HCC Staff
Hospice team members eulogize their patients at a recent interdisciplinary team meeting[/caption]HCC employees all encounter one particular comment when they tell someone they work for Hospice: “How do you do it? I could never deal with so much loss.”
We all know the pain of losing a loved one. Now imagine being a social worker, nurse or chaplain immersed in the struggles of 25 families simultaneously! Emotional attachment is almost a job requirement in providing hospice care, but so is showing strength and respect for a natural and profound life process while keeping appointments and commitments to all the other families who need them.
How do HCC staff process the loss that remains constant in their work? Every Hospice employee has their own coping strategies when a patient passes; the most common is a tearful good-bye along with the other family members.
There’s also a quiet time at every interdisciplinary team meeting, which convene weekly, when staff can share their hurt and process their loss. Under the guidance of a Hospice Chaplain, every team meeting begins with a remembrance of patients who have passed. A candle is lit for each patient. Team members eulogize the deceased, share special moments and process their sorrow.
“Team meeting is important on many levels,” according to Shauna Anderson, VP of Clinical Operations. “It is an important time to share unique perspectives and refine our treatment, but it’s also a safe zone where we can support one another.”
The HCC remembrance ceremony closes the circle of treatment responsibilities and grief for our patients’ loss. It allows us to move on.