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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Thank a Hospice Nurse

Published November 28, 2012 8:54 AM by Pam Tarapchak
My 95-year-old grandfather died in the early morning hours of an August day. My mother and I sat in his home bedroom and heard his last puff of breath. It was barely audible and we waited for his next breath.  But it never came.  

There was one person who made my grandfather's passing a bit easier for him and for his family - a hospice nurse. She first came to the house more than a year ago after my grandfather had fallen and was released from the hospital.  At that time, she explained the ins and outs of hospice to the family, providing resources and advice. It was a new world for everyone, and she made this last transition more bearable. Over the next  year, she answered question after question and came whenever the family needed her.

Toward the end of my grandfather's life, with just a few days left, this same nurse showed some of the greatest compassion I've ever witnessed. She guided the family through the stages of death, encouraging conversation with my grandfather, listening to individuals speak their fears, and helping everyone understand the process of death.

November is National Hospice Month. Hospice nurses care for patients and families during some of the most vulnerable, life-changing moments. They witness pain, grief and disbelief. And they also help families capture the final memories of a life.

My family was blessed to have one of the finest hospice nurses. Thank you, Becky.  

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