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COTA Thoughts

Dealing with Death

Published August 8, 2014 10:08 AM by Tim Banish

One thing anyone working in Long Term Care (LTC) will have to deal with is people passing away. During my years as a COTA I had several people I was currently working with die. It was never easy to deal with, but it's a fact of life.

Since most people in a nursing home have already had some sort of illness or injury they are already compromised medically. Most are in their later years as well, making death even more impending. Losing a person you knew and worked with is always a sad occurrence. Having a patient you've watched almost fully recover then have another episode take them is even sadder.

One lady I do remember was making great strides with her recovery following her stroke. Her stroke occurred from clots and blockage in the carotid arteries. She was scheduled for surgery as soon as she got a bit stronger, which would almost eliminate the possibility of another stroke. She was the sweetest lady, always grateful for anyone's help. We had seen her go from hardly able to lift an arm to doing household tasks with just stand by assist. One night another clot must have broken loose; she was gone before the ambulance arrived to transport her. The next morning some of the staff still had teary eyes.

As you should have been taught in school, don't become personally attached to your patients. There will always be the few who leave an impression on your heart, but in some ways it's good to not know what happens after they leave the facility. Just knowing you were a part of returning them back to their life at home is the therapist's reward.

I don't really have any further thoughts on death, but I know none of us will avoid it. I hope I'll be like that sweet lady, able to touch people's hearts in a short time to the point they are sad when you're gone.


Until next time, hope all your "Thoughts" are Good-



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