Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Encouragement

Shortly after I wrote about Ernie last August, we ended up discharging him from hospice. He was simply too stable and healthy. It was disappointing because I adored visiting him at the nursing home. He's such a sweetheart! Every once in awhile I'll run in to him when I'm visiting other patients but it's just not the same. Also disappointing was not being able to encourage his daughter "Jan", a truly delightful, outgoing woman. Her husband "Jim" has Parkinsons. Jan was pretty busy between caring for her husband and visiting her dad. Even on her down days, she managed to keep a positive attitude. It was truly an honor to work with her. I know she wanted Jim to consider coming on to hospice but he was not ready.

Back in May he began a different program and was discharged on Friday. Over the weekend, Jim did a lot of thinking and decided he was ready for hospice. This is a huge decision and Jan was relieved. Monday night the hospice RN Liz went out to do the admission and today Beth and I did a joint visit. Jan is absolutely thrilled to have us back! She told me today that she was so happy that Jim agreed to the hospice program, that she didn't want to push her luck in requesting who would be on the team. She said she was so happy when Liz told her that Beth and I would be assigned. Beth and I told her that we wouldn't let anyone else be involved! It was so nice to talk to her again, get an update on Ernie, and meet Jim. Jan said she is relieved that I will be the social worker because she felt so supported when I was involved with her dad. Apparently the other social worker does not have much tact or empathy (still new to the job) and Jan feels that this will be a much better fit. It's so nice to know that someone would request me, especially after a week where I have felt I am lacking in skills. That might be my own issue- I certaintly haven't heard any complaints but every once in awhile I feel like I am in over my head and don't know what to say or think. Another social worker told me it takes 10 years in your field before you feel competent. Just 6 more years to go, I guess. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to working with Jan and Jim and helping them find enjoyment in the days ahead.

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