“I have found end of life care to be very sacred, and to be able to provide that care to patients and families in their home is my calling,” says Alyce a LightBridge Hospice Nurse. Alyce describes the vital importance of being able to provide knowledge, resources, support, and comfort to those she attends. “I want to make sure people feel empowered,” she states, in regards to choosing interventions that feel right to them during their end of life journey.
WALKING WITH YOU
“As a hospice nurse, our job is to walk patients and caregivers through the end-of-life journey, providing guidance, comfort, and quality of care every step of the way. The first couple of visits I assess the patient and the family unit seeing where they are and what their needs may be,” Alyce shares.
One of the main goals of hospice care is to bring quality of life to the time a patient has left. Quality of life can mean different things to different people. Determining how each patient defines “quality” informs how each patient’s plan of care is determined. With four year’s prior experience as a critical care nurse, Alyce has a first-hand perspective on the difference between standard hospital care and the quality of care that hospice provides. “When you’re in your home, you have more autonomy over your body,” she explains, “versus when you’re in the hospital, decisions might be made for you if you’re not able to consent or make informed decisions.” With hospice, you have the power to make decisions at any time. “You even have the power to go off of hospice and back to the hospital if things are not feeling right- you can change your mind … and we will still be there for you!” Hospice care is about your journey; we are here to walk with you; however, that may look.
As a hospice nurse, Alyce has walked this journey many times and knows the importance of empowering a patient’s caregivers with the education and knowledge they need on how to care for their loved ones and what to expect as the time draws near. “As a hospice nurse, one of my jobs is to ensure caregivers know what medications are available and how to administer them to keep their loved one as comfortable as possible in the comfort of their home. I want family members to feel empowered to take care of their loved ones and provide them with the comfort and support they need.” While on hospice care, pain management is an important tool for achieving each patient’s quality of life. Having the knowledge to manage medications and other non-pharmacological interventions allows for each patient’s unique preferences to be met. “These medications are meant to keep people comfortable for as long as needed.” Alyce states.
Additionally, she describes the importance of guiding caregivers through what to expect as their loved ones progress through their end of life journey. “A big part of what is important for hospice nurses is making sure people understand what is to come,” she explains, “what symptoms they might see in their loved one and what can happen. Knowing this, they are not alarmed, but can call us anytime for guidance so they can keep their loved one as comfortable as possible.” As a hospice nurse, we not only walk with our patients but with their family and loved ones. One of our most important goals is for families and caregivers to feel confident they are capable with the very best support possible of caring for their loved ones.
HERE FOR YOU
An essential aspect of the care a hospice nurse provides is being available to the patient and their caregivers whenever they are in need. “Hospice care is knowing when you’re in distress, someone is going to come to help you,” she explains, at any hour of the day or night.” She mentions how she and other LightBridge nurses often shift their hours around their scheduled weekly visits so that they can attend to their patients who are in immediate need. Additionally, Alyce mentions how it is her priority to be increasingly present in the home as patients progress into their final days. “During the last seven days, we like to increase our hours to be there because we know it is a very critical time,” she explains. “Bringing peace to patients and families… is where I’m meant to be.”
None of us are on this journey alone, and here at LightBridge, we have the heart and strength to walk with you and your loved ones during this time. Our overriding passion is for families to look back on these moments in life’s journey with peace of mind knowing they made the right decision.