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"In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." Kahlil Gibran
2009-04-23 3:33 PM
Notes From Kentuckypine
I ran across some notes of Momma's and decided to post them here. The were written in a notebook in her own handwriting. I'll post more as I can. There weren't near enough, but her message is crystal clear. I know she wouldn't mind, and I know she would hope it is a help.
Notes From Kentucky Pine 6/10/98
Some of the things I’ve learned about being a Hospice caretaker:
1. Pray – often – for strength, not only physical but emotional and spiritual as well.
2. Remember that I am a guest in the home of the client and I shall try to do what is pleasing to the client, in the manner the client wishes it to be done – even if it’s not how I think it should be done.
3. Learn all I can about the illness so I will be prepared to recognize signs and symptoms which need to be reported to the case R.N.
4. Know my own limitations and be unafraid to ask for help when I reach those limits.
5. Ask questions about anything I don’t understand no matter how trivial it may seem to be.
6. Come to terms with my own mortality. This helps me to calm the fears of the client and the loved ones the client may be concerned about.
7. Do not impose my religious beliefs upon the client but encourage the client to participate and/or rely on his/her own personal beliefs – religious or non-religious.
8. Encourage the client to participate as fully in living life a day, or sometimes even a moment at a time. Life does not stop with diagnosis or prognosis. We can help to make whatever time is given full of life’s many wonders, large and small.
9. Be kind to family members. Appreciate the help they offer – and accept it. They often have a need to be an intricate part of the physical care. Or sometimes they are simply unable to participate in any way at all. Accept that also. I cannot judge anyone’s behavior or motives – that’s not my job. My job is to be there for ALL members of the family and to help in any way I can.
10. Little things mean a lot, a smile, a hug, a pat on the back, holding a hand, a back rub, a foot rub, reading from a favorite book, writing a letter, making a phone call, a dab of perfume, a close shave, watching a favorite TV show, looking at old photographs, fixing a favorite food, accepting “No” as an answer, a kiss on the forehead, a funny story, a soft voice, a suggestion instead of an order, playing cards, a leisurely stroll if possible, listening to the same story over and over, saying “please” and “thank you”, asking the simple question: “What can I do for you?” – then doing it, etc. – etc. – etc. –etc.
11. Be flexible – things don’t always happen as planned – above all – be flexible!
12. Be creative – if the ordinary doesn’t work, try something different. (Don’t have a shampoo tray? Try towels and a garbage bag.) Use your imagination.
13. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what you would expect from your caretaker if you were the client – then do it.
14. Remember to bring your sense of humor with you. Laughter makes everyone feel better.
15. Be prepared for rapid changes and the unexpected.
16. Trust your instincts.
17. Keep it simple.
18. My most important tools are:
c. How to make a bed without wrinkles.
d. A thorough knowledge of procedures I am expected to perform.
h. The ability and the willingness to follow instruction.
i. An open mind.
j. A non-judgemental attitude.
k. A good sense of humor.
l. A great love for what I do and those I do it for.
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