For those caregivers dealing with someone suffering from a debilitating or terminal illness, hospice care can be one of the most valuable services to both patient and family. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation regarding hospice so we decided to tackle this difficult subject in this episode of the Old Nerd in the Gym Fitness Podcast.
Hospice is much more than “end of life care” for terminal patients. Services range from palliative, in-home, and in-facility care, to grief counseling and family support. There are more than 5,000 hospice organizations in the United States, many of which are not-for-profit organizations.
Our guest is Kim Vesey, RN, CHPN, MS, general manager of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, in Dayton, Ohio. Kim has been a hospice nurse for 37 years, starting into that area of practice only one year out of nursing school.
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But Kim isn’t just a healthcare professional working in the hospice industry. Unfortunately, she’s also had personal experience, going through the loss of her husband and daughter.
Hospice care is not something arrived at lightly by patients or families. One of the most difficult aspects of caring for his parents was when Gery Deer’s family had to make the difficult decision to involve hospice support. In the case of his mother, he had the support of his father, close cousin, and siblings, as well as adult nieces, to make those choices. But when it came time to care for his father, he made that decision alone – and without hesitation. The benefits of hospice care to ensuring the quality of life and palliative support were invaluable. After his father’s death, hospice services included grief counseling, vital to dealing with caregiver survival issues like guilt, grief, and depression.
Experiencing loss is challenging for anyone, at any age, but can be especially difficult for young children. Sadness, fear, and loneliness can overwhelm a child who’s lost someone close to them. To help grieving children, Kim has written a series of illustrated books, beginning with, “What Cloud Is My Mommy In.” Beautifully illustrated by Amy Gantt, the “What Cloud” series deals with the loss of parents, grandparents, and siblings, through the eyes of a child.