|Brenda Standley, CNA with Community Nursing, and volunteer Michelle Clyde are sitting with George Marvidikis.|
Most people do not want to die alone in sterile, impersonal surroundings hooked up by tubes to machines and cut off from their families and friends and everything that's familiar. For many years people have come to know that a group or organization that can be of assistance during the final period is hospice. Although hospice is offered through many groups and agencies hospice care provides medical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual care to people who are dying and their families. More than 80 percent of people want to die at home. Hospice can help them to remain at home in a supportive environment with quality medical care to manage pain and symptoms. Even those who are dying in hospitals or nursing homes often benefit from the additional services that hospice provides.
One agency in Carbon county is Community Nursing Services Hospice program, which offers a program of rest and comfort for the final journey of life, with the belief that "you matter to the last moment of your life. Hospice care is kind, gentle, and comforting, providing dignity in the final days of life."
Pain and symptom control as well as emotional and spiritual support are the main emphasis of services. Linda Beal, RN, MSN, Area Manager reports that in the last year, CNS provided loving care to over 50 hospice patients and families in the Carbon and Emery area. An average of over 46 volunteer service hours per month are provided in our area by local volunteers.
Hospice support helps maintain dignity and quality of life as the end draws near. The hospice team includes registered nurses, certified nurses' aides, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, medical director and patient physicians, pharmacist, dietary consultants, volunteers and spiritual support, all working together to provide high quality care and symptom control to your loved ones.
The Community Nursing Services' volunteer program is an important part of the hospice and palliative care program. Volunteers provide a variety of services tailored to meet the individual needs of the patient and family. After a client's death, hospice support and bereavement care continue with the family for a year.
One volunteer shares this experience: "When I first visited Rose, I knew she was a very special person. I am not good at sitting and visiting, so I asked her if she wanted me to do some ironing. From then on I ironed while she talked and we became friends. I was always glad that I went. I felt like we had developed a special friendship. The CNS Hospice Team is like a wonderful shade tree giving comfort, support, strength and rest. I was very glad to be a small part of the tree."
One hospice patient reflected, "There is no place like home." Although most hospice services are delivered in a personal residence, some patients live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Calling hospice is not "giving up", it is just the opposite, explains Beal. It can mean a high quality of life and care from loving, committed and thoughtful professionals. Bringing death out into the open and making sickness and loss a time of sharing and remembrance is difficult. And while the hospice experience may not be for everyone, those who choose hospice find the specialness of caring for a loved one and the richness of sharing memories of youth, trials and joys a rewarding experience never to be forgotten. The extra support hospice provides may make the difference in being able to continue to care for a loved one at home.
Afflictions aside, George Marvidikis lives independently in his own home, thanks to Community Nursing Services' hospice program. One of his "girls" is Brenda Standley, a certified nurses' aide employed by CNS. Standley visits three times a week to help with bathing, light housekeeping, and building his spirits. JoAnn Jensen, a registered nurse, also visits him and helps him manage his pain and other problems with the latest medications for pain and symptom relief. Terri Fausett, LCSW, also visits to give him and his sons the emotional support they need.