Thursday, January 08, 2009

Are the holidays slower?

This past Christmas I was asked quite a few times if hospice work slows down over the holidays. The underlying assumption must be that people are busy with their own holiday celebrations and don't want to dampen the occasion by making a decision to start hospice or, if already a hospice patient, have staff around. This is certainly true of some people but it seems to be the exception to the rule...at least this year. I asked the other 3 hospice social workers at my organization how their work was going and we all had the same answer: We've been inundated with new patients in the past month making it very difficult, if not impossible, to follow up with the rest of our caseload. Sadly some of my "once a month" visits are becoming "once every month and a half." I know that if something urgent was happening the family would call or the hospice RN would let me know but it is important to me to visit regularly and build the relationship that we have. I'm hopeful now that we're into 2009 that I'll be able to settle back into a routine. With a forecast of snow tomorrow, I'm not sure that I'll be able to see everyone on my schedule but I promise to do my best and to drive slowly. Or as I tell my patients- sometimes you have to take it an hour at a time, when a day at a time doesn't quite cut it.

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