Every workday, I meet hospice patients who are in the final stage of their lives. Many realize that death is approaching, and they are frightened. It’s my goal to make them feel a little less afraid and more like the people they were before they became ill.
I have been a certified nursing assistant at the Care Dimensions Kaplan Family Hospice House since shortly after it opened in 2005, and previously cared for hospice patients in their homes for 10 years. I tend to patients’ personal care needs and ensure they are as comfortable as possible.
Some may think what I do is depressing, but I find it extremely rewarding. I make people happy as they near death, and if I can make them laugh, that to me is worth more than money.
Greeting a hospice patient
When I first meet a patient, I try to immediately establish a rapport so that when I see them the next time, they won’t be so frightened. I just try to talk to them, and determine what appeals to them and makes them comfortable.
Often, my initial meeting with a patient starts with, “Hi, my name is Cindy, and I’m here to take care of you and make you feel good.” Sometimes I will tell a story about my life. Maybe the patient and I can reminisce about local places and memories made there. I try to relate to them. Where did they live? What did they do for work?
When I enter a patient’s room, I want them to forget where they are for five minutes. If I can put a smile on that person’s face, that’s all I care about. I have a big heart and I want to take time to show my patients I care. Working in hospice allows me to do that, which is a big reason why I love my job. It’s tough, but I wouldn’t trade it for another one.
Making a difference
When I’m out in the community, people often recognize me. They say, “You took care of my mom!” They are so appreciative. To hear that “thank you” is so rewarding and I know that my work really made a difference for that family and their loved one.
Knowing that I made a seriously ill person feel good – even for a few minutes that day – allows me to go to bed thinking, “I did a good job today.” I strive for that every day, and I’ll continue to do it until I retire.
Learn about careers with Care Dimensions: https://www.caredimensions.org/careers/
Sign up for our Careers e-newsletter: