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Transition

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Dec 2, 2018.

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  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Namaskarams Smt. joylokhi. Kindly address me Viswa. It is the grace of God that I got this opportunity to volunteer and see death every week. I wish I have the ability to download the feelings and emotions dying person goes through instead of merely watching it without a proper understanding. The Hospice manual describes the 30 days of dying process and the last hour of how gradually breathing pattern changes to a dying person. More than helping those who die alone, I consider this opportunity to learn from it so that I can handle my emotions when I encounter the death of kith and kin and also face my own evening of life with courage. From that view point, I am the beneficiary.
     
  2. jskls

    jskls Finest Post Winner

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    @Viswamitra sir, I don't know how you do this every week volunteering at hospice. I happen to read your post in this thread randomly, and it is great to volunteer for such a noble cause. My thought is not about one that is departing who needs a peaceful exit but the ones that are left behind. The family who has to make tough choice on what kind of hospice treatment they have to choose for their loved ones, how much the insurance would cover should they chose a basic hospice or somewhat sophisticated one. With no time to grieve they have to make the next call on survival. How does it feel to see the family members go through this?

    But I am glad there is at least some system to take care of the bare minimum needs. Probably more awareness on where to knock doors for help or how to approach the system and make use of it is needed. My thoughts are not coherent and I am randomly sharing stuff. As you help the ones departing we also need a lot of information to help the one's left behind. Maybe it exists I don't know. Have to find out. sorry if this is not the thread to share this please move to some chatter thread.
     
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  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Lakshmi,

    This is the perfect place for your question. Because, what I do in the Hospice is only limited to my experience and minuscule part of what the Hospice does overall. When I trained with the Hospice 10 years ago, I did a lot more service in different areas but now I have decided to work in specific areas for my own personal growth and development through selfless service.

    The Hospice's one of the trainings is known as "Patients and Families Care" meaning taking care of suffering kith and kin when their loved ones are facing terminal illness or grieving after their passing away. That has many volunteers (in fact over 2,000). I went through additional training to get into what is called, "Transition Volunteering" specifically be next to the patient when they are facing death especially when there are no loved ones around them. There are many branches of specialized training such as spiritual counseling, psychological counseling, religious counseling, Legal Counseling, Reiki, Massage, religious rituals given prior to death, lifetime legacies meaning recording the message of the terminally ill patient for their loved ones and distributing them to their kith and kin according to their wishes, transportation volunteering, home volunteering, assisted-living facilities volunteering, company and support for grieving families, Veterans services, assistance in paying respect at the burial grounds and many more.

    Medical and Medical support, Diet and physical therapies are only a small part of the Hospice as their philosophy is to cover all aspects of life of dying patients including supporting their families. Most importantly, all staff and volunteers are told to comply with the request of the patients and their families. The Hospice care covers even terminally ill children and that is a section that needs more volunteering as many are unable to digest what they encounter in that ward.

    Regarding insurance coverage, the Hospice is heavily funded by private organizations, government organizations, churches, etc. heavily and therefore, even patients with no insurance coverage or in Medicare or in Medicaid are all covered with the best possible medical assistance besides all other assistance needed to make their quality of life better even if they are imminent. 2,000 + volunteers give at least 3 hours a week and many are giving a lot more.
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Saturday, September 28th, 2019

    Census: 13 patients - 7 deaths in the last 24 hours - 5 arrivals plus 2 more during my duty - 1 MRSA patient with physical contact restriction - 1 Pancreatic Cancer patient discharged to go home. I didn't have a co-volunteer yesterday and I had to manage all volunteering myself including accompanying patients brought into the Hospice by the Ambulance staff and guiding visitors to their respective rooms. They rely on volunteer record for the exact time of arrival and also to let the nurses know through phone about the arrival of a patient as they are always busy with the rest of the patients. One mother who was desperately trying to reach a staff member called me and unfortunately I dropped that call accidentally and felt bad about it. Luckily she called again and when I profusely apologized she said, "I had worked in that position for a long period of time and dropped many calls". Finally, she told me please tell this particular staff to call her mother which was easier than solving the transferring the call.

    One of the previous shift volunteer offered to stay as long as I need her and I thanked and politely told her that I could manage the volunteering alone. After that she left with her little puppy who is also a volunteer in the Hospice.
     
  5. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hats off! Amazing to read about such people!
     
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  6. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Have you had an occasion when you actually had to sit with a person who was dying? What was the experience like (if you did?) Did they talk of what they were experiencing spiritually in that moment?

    Also forgive me if this is a silly question. I find the term 'imminent' patients interesting. When you use that term, how long is the person given? Is it days, hours .....? When a dear friend was dying of cancer, the doctor on the last day declared he had only a few hours left and said anyone who wanted to see him should come immediately. The friend passed away within 4-5 hours. I wonder how docs are able to predict the length of time available to a person.
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    I had two such experiences so far when the patients died on the same day when I sat down with them. They both were unconscious and breathing pattern changed significantly when I was sitting with them.

    Generally, most patients who come into the Hospice last an average a week to 10 days. But there are exceptions who gets discharged quickly and stayed in the Hospice for a longer duration. Imminent are the ones where they expect the person to pass within 24 hours and exact time prediction is impossible.

    I sat with the first patient at 5:30 p.m. and left from the room at 6:30 p.m. chanting Gayatri Mantra for his peaceful transition having learned from the nurse that the patient is in the last hours. At 6:35 p.m. when I was sitting in the reception area, the nurse came and told me that she passed away. Then they asked me to sit with another patient at 7 p.m. and I stayed only for 30 minutes with the patient as she was already calm but unconscious. The breathing was regular. When I was about to leave at 8 p.m., it occurred to me to go back and check the patient one more time and when I did, I noticed that she wasn't breathing. The nurse came and checked the pulse and said she passed away too. She called the physician on call to come and certify the death.
     
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  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Mostly, the nurses request us only when no other family members are around. Generally, the Hospice philosophy is not to let anyone die alone even if they are unconscious as they believe that hearing is the last thing that the person losses before death. They even suggested that we can talk comforting words to them during transition. Even when I chant Gayatri Mantra, I don't say it loudly but inside me. Sometimes, touching their hair or head gives them comfort even if they are not conscious.
     
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  9. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Doctors and we ourselves can guess to some extent, about the last stage or terminal breathing hours.Now a days medicos ask us to take the patient home, assist breathing with external oxygen help.As Viswa says, hearing is perfect till the last moment.When my Amma was struggling to breathe on the last day, all sisters were chanting Vishnu Sahasranama aloud.Amidst difficulty in breathing Amma was listening.Somebody came, some calling bell sounded,the chanting was interrupted. Amma showed some signs of disturbance as though she wanted the chanting to continue. When the recitation started she became calm and passed away within 15 minutes.
    jayasala 42
     
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  10. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    Quite a contribution to the organizer by way of brilliant suggestion that in turn bliss to future volunteers and to recipients of welfare food.
    God bless.
     
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