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Hospice Work?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by The Hulk, Dec 1, 2002.

  1. The Hulk

    The Hulk Official Green Monster
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    Who here has done it? How psychologically vexing is it? I'm interested but I'm worried the personal rewards I feel might be outweighed by the depressing aspects.. any thoughts?

    TH
     
  2. orion1978

    orion1978 Member
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    I did not find it depressing in the least. Quite the contrary, it was quite interesting to observe a tight-knit healthcare team committed to the emotional and physical well-being of the patient as well as the family. Also, it is touching to watch families bring closure to a particular aspect of their lives. It is also interesting to note that family doesn't always follow bloodlines.

    Hospice is quite different from allopathic medicine as it specializes in palliative care. The care also is given to the family (in our case) one year after the patient dies. I found it overall to be a very interesting and uplifting experience

    Chad
     
  3. LoneCoyote

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    I also agree with the last post. I have also found my hospice volunteer time to be very rewarding. It has really made me think about patient care in a whole different way than my time spent volunteering in the ER does. I volunteer in a hospice in-patient unit so I often see patients who are in their last few days of life. And yes, some days it can be heavy. But more often it is inspiring to work with the staff who I find to be amazing, and to interact with the patients who very often want to reflect on their lives and share stories and experiences. Some volunteers opt to work with a patient in their own home. I think that experience allows you to develop a more long-lasting relationship with one specific patient and to observe the family dynamics that can occur with terminal illness. Either way, I think hospice volunteering can show you another side of medicine and I would encourage anyone to go for it. Peace.
     
  4. Ma!

    Ma! Senior Member
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    In my next life I'm gonna be a hospice caregiver- my Pop "flunked" hospice twice before he finally got to die and I'll tell you we never would have made it without the hospice team.

    Palliative care is their only concern, so when they meet a patient they aren't into healing the body at all. Pain management and easing people through death is what they focus on-so its quite a bit different from docs who aim to "fix it".

    I highly recommend a book called Dying Well by Ezra somebody-every doctor to be should read this-there is a time to give up the fight for life, hospice makes it all OK.

    good luck-I hope you do it...
     
  5. Adcadet

    Adcadet Long way from Gate 27
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    you asked about the psychological effects. Let me see if I can address this:

    A few years ago, I had to write a paper for my clinical psych class dealing with a specific population. I chose to write about hospice nurses and volunteers. I collected all the lit, and started reading it in chronological order. As I read the stuff from the late 70s and 80s, I had no clue what people were talking about when they discussed or reported high burnout rates. Then I got into the lit from the 90s, and found that the later studies generally showed hospice workers to be better adjusted than many of their counterparts (i.e.-oncology nurses). And this has been my experience for the past 6 years. Yes, there are times, often right around the time of death that I get a little sad. But mostly hospice work (for me at least) is very uplifting. I wouldn't go into hospice work unless you're very mature and are grief-free.

    Hospice has taught me more than anything else I've done so far in life. I highly recommend it. Other than the personal satisfaction, it seems my med school interviewers so far have generally appreciated my hospice work.

    As far as being pre-med and doing hospice work, I would really recommend getting some non-hospice clinical experience as well just so you can see what more traditional medicine is like.

    PM me if you want a copy of that hospice paper, by the way.
     
  6. Biodude

    Biodude The Biology DUDE
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    Wow, that's some amazing stuff so far, guys. I just signed up for hospice but I still have some forms to do (TB skin test, hepatitis B immunization, etc.)

    I must say that from what I hear from volunteers that already do hospice work, there seems to be no (bad) psychological effects. They seem to become friends with the hospice patients that they help to give palliative (comfort) care to. Sure, it sucks when you have a patient die on you, but as a hospice volunteer or worker, you have to think about the person that you got to know.

    If anybody lives in Orange County, CA and is interested in doing hospice work, please send me a PM. I'll tell you who to call and also how to get there. We only have 30 volunteers, and that is not quite enough to take care of every single patient that requests a volunteer :(
     
  7. SubSpring

    SubSpring Junior Member
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    we used hospice when my mom died, great people. i did community serveice there for my high school. anyone know where i can find ifnormation about volunteering for hospice? It was easy at HS because they gave us everything, hehe
     
  8. banannie

    banannie Senior Member
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    The Hulk!

    I see you are in Cambridge. Come volunteer at Chilton House! It is an amazing place, and only a short bus ride from Harvard Square. I've volunteered there for over a year and love it. I have found that volunteering at a hospice is actually a much more uplifting experience than being at a nursing home or hospital. PM me if you would like more info.
     
  9. The Hulk

    The Hulk Official Green Monster
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    You wouldn't believe this, but Chilton House was why I started this thread! That's so funny, the world really is a small place... thatks to everyone for their help and information. I now feel much more confident about my choice to volunteer in a hospice. Good luck to everyone in you future medical careers!

    TH
     

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