Top level Menu

Archive | August, 2016

What is “Normal” When Talking about Grief?

Grief
Intense grief can be a new and frightening experience. Most people feel like strangers in unfamiliar, uncharted territory when experiencing grief for the first time. Fear of “going crazy” may prevent the griever from asking others if this experience of grief is normal.

The truth is that people grieve differently and one person’s experience may look very different from that of another.

Though everyone grieves in a unique way, certain thoughts, emotions and behaviors are almost universal to acute grief. Following are some of the most common:

  • Overwhelming sadness and tearfulness
  • Feelings of emptiness and loneliness
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory
  • Problems falling and/or staying asleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of energy and/or motivation
  • Decreased interest in things that formerly held your interest
  • Desire to withdraw socially from others
  • Restlessness and/or increased anxiety

Just knowing these grief symptoms are normal may be enough to calm your fears. However, if you still have questions about your grief journey, attending a support group may help. Listening to the stories of other grievers can assist in understanding your own grief symptoms. Grief support services are available at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton through Pathways of Hope. Contact Pathways of Hope at 937-258-4991.

0

Nursing Honor Guard Recognizes Caregiver for Career Contributions


Athleen Buhrman spent her nursing career providing care for residents of nursing facilities. Now she is a resident of Brookhaven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Honor and appreciation ceremonies were recently held to recognize Athene by the Nursing Honor Guard of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton.

The Nursing Honor Guard is comprised of volunteer nurses who conduct a ceremony to honor patients who are nurses. Dressed in traditional and historical uniforms, the Honor Guard recognizes the nurse for her commitment to caring and providing compassion to patients.

“Nursing is giving of one’s self to enhance the lives of others,” Honor Guard member Joanne Dole said in recognizing Athleen. “After raising your children, you went to nursing school to acquire your LPN degree. You spent your nursing career working in nursing facilities lovingly caring for their residents. We want to formally acknowledge your many years of service as a nurse. Know that your accomplishments can only be measured in the lives you affected through dedication and perseverance. Thank you for all ou have given to the nursing profession.”

As a nurse, Athleen served patients at Brookhaven. Her son reports that when she moved into Brookhaven Athleen told the staff “I love it. I love my coworkers. This is the best place I ever worked.”

The Nursing Honor Guard presented Athleen with a pin and ceremony thanking her for her service. “It is our honor to express our respect for you as a nurse and our gratitude for the care that you have given.”

0

Exchanging a Bear Hug

20160712_145601_resizedOhio’s Hospice of Dayton volunteer Judy Cole has touched the lives of hundreds of patient families over the years by creating handcrafted Memory Bears from the belongings of loved ones who have passed away. For the past two years, she has been making Memory Bears for another group – kids attending the grief program of Camp Pathways.

Judy was presented a framed thank you card signed by the Yellow Group campers who received her Memory Bears as souvenirs of Camp Pathways 2016 – along with a bear to call her own. We like to think of it as an exchange of bear hugs.
20160712_144340_rcopycampers

0

How Hospice Helps Caregivers

Caregiver

Hospice care is a philosophy that embraces family members, providing care for them along with hospice patients. We recognize that a life-limiting illness impacts everyone in the family circle. That’s why support for family caregivers is a major focus of our care and services.

We provide caregiver education and resources to help caregivers who are attending to patients in the home.

  • A nurse is available by phone 24/7 to answer questions.
  • Our extended hours staff is available to assist when needed.
  • Our trained volunteers support caregivers with errands, household chores and more. Volunteers are friendly visitors who listen and provide emotional support. They can also sit with a patient to give caregivers a short break from their duties.
  • Our Personal Care Specialists help with patient care, including feeding, bathing and personal grooming.
  • Our social workers help with emotional support for caregivers, and identify community resources that can help meet family needs.
  • Our chaplains support family members and patients, respecting individual faith traditions and keeping the family connected with their faith community.
  • Grief support is provided during patient care and in the months following the loss of a loved one.
  • Our Hospice House can provide more extended respite care for patients when caregivers need time to refresh or to attend to their own healthcare needs.

Our hospice team is attentive to the toll of caregiving and helps to make sure caregivers practice self-care. We can help develop strategies to assure caregivers:

  • Maintain a sense of wellbeing
  • Are getting the rest they need
  • Are addressing their own health concerns
  • Are getting a break when they need one

Most importantly, hospice care can help caregivers spend more quality time with their loved one by sharing and easing the load of responsibilities and demands caregivers face. Hospice care assures that caregivers are not alone in their commitment to love and care for a seriously ill family member.

0

Social Workers Essential for Holistic Care

SocialWorkers

In 2015, the social workers at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton made 11,933 visits to patients and families. Social workers play a central role in holistic hospice care that addresses the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of patients facing the end-of-life and of those who love them and are facing loss.

Social workers focus on enhancing quality of life concerns for patients, families and caregivers. Among other things:

  • They help families connect with valuable community resources, including meals on wheels, in-home caregiver support and financial assistance.
  • They educate and inform family caregivers so they feel confident in caring for their loved one.
  • They help patient and family openly discuss their fears and concerns.
  • They help smooth the way when patients need to transition from one living environment to another.
  • They serve as advocates for patients, helping to identify and plan so patients can achieve their end-of-life goals.
  • They assist with completing advance directives, insurance claims and with funeral planning.
  • They help assure that children receive the services and support they need when facing the loss of a loved one.

Social workers are knowledgeable and comfortable working with ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity. They are familiar with and can help patients and families as they navigate complex health care systems.

While accomplishing all these things, social workers also provide emotional support and understanding as families face the difficult challenge of saying goodbye and learning to live with a new ‘normal’ after the loss of a loved one.

 

0

PARO – A Positive Substitute for Pet Therapy

Some people complain that technology can be dehumanizing. Those people have not yet had the privilege of meeting PARO.

PARO is the nickname of an advanced interactive therapeutic robot that is being used at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton with patients. Designed to look like an adorable baby harp seal and covered with synthetic fur, PARO is loaded with sensors in his long whiskers and entire body, enabling him to react to sound, light and touch. PARO blinks his eyes, moves his head, makes sounds and reacts as a real animal does when interacting with a human. PARO evokes the same emotional pleasure as a pet therapy animal but can serve patients in situations where real animals cannot.

Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton added two of the baby seal robots to the clinical team a few years ago as part of an innovative approach to patient care. For patients in settings that do not permit animals, such as nursing homes, PARO is a tool to encourage patient interaction.

Occupational Therapist Angelene Volpatti highlights how PARO affected one patient. “The patient was well-educated and confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. Her children were literally all over the country – Alaska, Florida and Washington state. They spoke frequently by phone, but conversations were limited mostly to what the patient had to eat and how she was feeling.

During our first meeting I discovered the family were animal lovers and always had pets. Pet therapy was not offered by the nursing home, so we brought PARO to visit. The patient responded to PARO just like she would a pet, speaking to him and petting him, smiling and enjoying PARO’s reactions. She immediately relaxed and was less physically contracted. The conversations with her children became more rich, as she talked about PARO and together they reminisced about pets.”

Research with PARO has shown that patients experience a reduced heart rate, reduced blood pressure and are more calm after interacting with the robotic seal. They engage in more social interaction. Such positive outcomes, without the potential side-effects of pharmaceutical interventions, are convincing evidence of the value of robotic therapy.

0

Compassionate Touch Contributes to Compassionate Care

“Touch is the most prominent language in the caregiving relationship. Every act of caregiving involves touch. It is an action that validates life and gives hope to both the giver and the receiver. The healing of touch is reciprocal.”— Irene Smith

Among the complementary therapies provided to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton patients is soothing, relaxing massage therapy. Licensed Massage Therapists Amy Fluty, Amy Green and Jo Monroe have concentrated on enhancing their massage skills to better benefit hospice patients. First they focused on earning certification as Compassionate Touch Practitioners. “In the fall of 2015 we took Compassionate Touch classes 1 and 2 to earn certification,” explains Amy Fluty. “We learned a hands-on approach for those in eldercare and hospice. Compassionate Touch combines focused touch, compassionate presence and sensitive massage and specialized communication skills. We were extremely fortunate that the owner of Compassionate Touch, Ann Caitlin, LMT was our instructor.”

In the spring of 2016 the trio traveled to San Francisco for Class 3: Compassionate Touch (Everflowing) Hospice certification. The program is taught by Irene Smith, a pioneer in hospice massage who worked with U.S. hospice innovator  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross at the beginnings of hospice care. “Irene Smith, CMP, is the founder of Everflowing technique,” Fluty explains. “Her educational outreach program is dedicated to teaching mindful touching as an integral component to end of life care.”

The massage practitioners learned the special tactile needs of dying persons and to present skills, techniques and personal practices for adapting touch and massage into a dying person’s care. “We learned ways to achieve more comfort at the bedside and clarify feelings concerning death and dying,” Fluty says. “Our role has the greatest value when we can provide a calm and compassionate treatment that reduces the need for medication, eases anxiety and adds to patient comfort.”

Touch

0

Stories Resonate When We Need Them Most

“In times of difficulty, we tell the stories again. If there’s a crisis, we tell the stories. It’s a human need; it strengthens our souls.”

So begins a nuanced discussion about listening and sharing – for patient and care giver – by a leading authority on developing simple but crucial tools that enable coping and meaning in end-of-life scenarios.

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, clinical professor of family and community medicine at the University of California San Francisco and clinical professor at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, recently conducted a daylong seminar for hospice professionals at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton.

Participants in “Reclaiming Awe: A workshop on Mystery, Meaning and Resilience for Hospice Professionals” were reminded of the wonder and lessons to be learned working with people on the edge of life. “The whole purpose of the workshop was to bring more meaning to your work,” said Angelene Volpatti, an occupational therapist who works with hospice patients in their homes. “I learned practical tools,” Volpatti said, such as breath awareness. “If you don’t have meaning in your work you will burn out,” she said.

DrRemenLinkSize

After the workshop, Dr. Remen, a pioneer of the Relationship Centered Care and Integrative Medicine, discussed her journey of restoring medicine as a calling and work of healing. A student in the 1960s of the human potential movement at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Ca., Dr. Remen delved into transpersonal and humanistic psychology. She said she was “taken” with the idea that value, integrity and meaning could be infused into dire and chronic diagnoses.

“When I finished with training I wanted to work with patients like myself” (she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 63 years ago) living with chronic illness, she said. “Even if you couldn’t fix the disease you could have a meaningful life.” She sought patients who could not find relief from conventional medicine. “I went to the medical community and asked for the patients who were taking up all their time. The first (doctor) said, ‘There is nothing I can do with them. If you want to take them off my hands, you can see all my patients.’ I had a full practice in a month and a half. They, as medical people, had nothing to offer them.” Dr. Remen said she began what she calls ‘generous listening.’ “I discovered what an important thing it is to be a human being. I found what it is to find meaning, wisdom and love. I discovered how much better they were living than their doctors.”

Then, the mysterious and deadly disease AIDS struck.

“It was like a war zone. People were afraid to touch. We didn’t know what we were dealing with. The half-life of a hospice nurse was about six weeks,” Dr. Remen said. “You would come to work on Monday and you and your team were assigned seven patients – the most creative people – and by Friday they were dead. When you came in Monday, you had another seven. People couldn’t do it.”
Dr. Remen was asked to help the people who were helping the AIDS population. “I didn’t know how to do that, but I was interested, and did some research.”

The night before a presentation, she had a dream.

“It was a group, facing outward toward San Francisco, the battle zone, sending waves of strength,” she said. “In the middle was a black hole, and if you stepped back, you’d fall into the hole.” Dr. Remen felt the group needed to “turn around and take care of each other. We were each so alone with this epidemic. If we turned around, as a community, we could do this together.” What she discovered, she said, is that the strength “is in the stories, the learning that was going on among us. So, on Friday, when everyone had died, we spent a few hours sharing the pieces of those lives, finding who each other was, and was important. The turnover stopped.”

“When we live at the edge of things – such places as hospice, war, medical epidemics – that’s where we learn what really matters.”
Dr. Remen said today’s corporate concerns about the bottom line and cost containment can inhibit these important caregiver practices.
Dr. Remen said it is an “interesting time in medicine.” She noted how high numbers of physicians are “depressed, drug-addicted, committing suicide. This has been a challenge, to look at medical education. Why are doctors so vulnerable and suffering compassion overload? We must be able to live the meaning of your work – to see meaning like you see color – and ask what is evoked by this disease? What does this tell us about the patient?”

She said one can feel “grateful to be with those people, you can be strengthened and fed. When people experience their work as having individualized meaning, that you can make a difference, there is low incidence of burnout.” Dr. Remen believes “becoming present, being able to live ‘in the neighborhood of yourself’ but seeing what is in front of yourself, is not about doing anything different, but seeing things in new ways.”

Social worker Michael Kammer, who works at the Hospice House in Dayton, said Dr. Remen’s workshop gave him “a refreshing sense of mission, and was a reminder of why I’m doing this.”

0

Annual Walk/Run Event Benefits Patients and Families of Ohio’s Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties

hospice of butler and warren counties walkFIFTH ANNUAL REMEMBRANCE WALK/RUN SUPPORTS VITAL PROGRAMS FOR COMMUNITY
The 2016 Annual 5k Remembrance Walk/Run invites teams and individuals to walk in memory of or honor of loved ones is slated for September 10, 2016. Participants are invited to organize a group of co-workers, social network or neighbors to support the mission of Ohio’s Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties. 
 All proceeds benefit patient care at the not-for-profit, community-based hospice that serves patients in their homes, in extended care and assisted living facilities and at Lorelei’s Place Hospice House in Franklin.

The event takes place at Smith Park, 500 Tytus Avenue in Middletown. Registration opens at 8:30 am and the Walk/Run begins at 10:00 am. Teams and individuals compete for awards. Speedy Feet race management will track times for the race. Convenient parking is provided near the registration tent in the beautiful and historic Smith Park. The cost for adult participants is $25 and for children 12 and under, $10. Bottled water will be provided.

Dollars raised through the benefit Walk/Run support:
Indigent Care – At Ohio’s Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties, everyone receives care regardless of his or her ability to pay.

Lorelei’s Place In-patient Care Options – Lorelei’s Hospice House in Franklin offers extensive care for patients experiencing medical situations or symptoms that cannot be managed in the home or facility-based setting.

Focused & Palliative Care and Complementary Therapies – Donor dollars enable us to provide Focused Care, highly specialized disease-specific treatment for hospice patients, and palliative care for patients with significant pain and symptom control issues. Our ability to offer massage, art, music and occupational therapies enables us to assure an improved quality of life for patients.

Community Wide Grief Support Services – We provide Grief Support Services at no cost, regardless of whether our hospice services have been used. and in community locations, making it more convenient for the bereaved to receive the support they need.

For additional information contact Ashley Robison, 937-222-WALK, or email arobison@hospiceofdayton.org or visit www.hospiceofbwco.org

0

Celebrating Life is the Catch of the Day

RobFishing_07272016 (67)_Small

Robert Leming, patient at Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, enjoys a summer afternoon fishing at the Hospice House pond.

“I was bored sitting in the house. I wanted to get out and do something.”

When his hospice social worker suggested he go fishing at the pond on the hospice campus, “he lit up like a kid who just got their first wagon for Christmas,” said his wife Casaundra.

But the week was the hottest so far this summer, and fishing had to wait. Finally, the weather cooled and Rob got to cast a line while enjoying a slight breeze under a brilliant blue sky. How long had it been? “I haven’t been fishing in over ten years,” said Rob. “But I did a lot of it growing up.”

Rob was diagnosed with mild emphysema in May of 2009. He contracted an uncommon drug-resistant bacterium in 2014 that caused his emphysema to quickly progress. A truck driver by trade, he was forced to retire due to his medical issues.

RobFishing_07272016 (31)_Small

Robert found someone who was very interested in his bait.

He and Casaundra enjoy a steady stream of teasing each other on the fishing pier. Cassandra mentions that Rob is celebrating a birthday the next day. When asked how old he will be, Rob responds “21” and Casaundra says “58.” The couple is equally at odds when it comes to how long they’ve been married. “A million years,” according to Rob. “That’s eight years numerically,” clarifies Casaundra. Rob taunts the turtle that desperately battles to catch the bait on his line, while Cassandra scolds him for animal cruelty. “The only one interested in my line is this turtle,” Rob complains. “And she won’t let me catch him.”

Humor, fishing and a warm summer breeze combine for a day that gives Rob a break from summer boredom and a fitting way to Celebrate Life the day before a birthday.

RobertLemingAndWife_LinkSize

 

0