A Day In The Life

Some of my recent blogs have been a bit emotional; it’s hard not to write from the heart in an environment such as this, so I thought it was time to lighten it up a bit. I want to tell you about some things that I have been doing during my time at Bethell Hospice.

Each day we have a morning meeting called Launch Pad. This is where the nurses update the Hospice employees on the status of the residents. We are given a summary of the residents state of health (how they are reacting to medication, meal wishes, nursing requirements, etc.) and their family status (will they be having visitors today, did anyone spend the night with them, who makes up their family, etc.). At this meeting we also are told if the resident or the family members require any counselling support or spiritual guidance. We have a social worker on staff and volunteers who provide spiritual counselling to those in need. For those of you reading this from GSK, this is similar to our Comm Cells – a short meeting to provide a high-level status update to the team on the residents.

On Tuesdays we have “rounds”. This is a meeting attended by the Medical Director (a local physician), the clinical team and the Leadership Team. This is a more detailed review of the residents and their status. In this meeting the nursing team will update us on how the resident is doing with pain medication; do they need more/less, are there any adverse reactions, etc.? The Medical Director must provide the direction to the nurses on when/how to change medications. We also discuss mobility issues; for example, what is the safest way to move the resident. We also look at the family dynamics; how is the family dealing with their loved one’s illness, is fatigue setting in for them, how can we support their self-care? Essentially, everything impacting the resident, their illness and their care is discussed in this meeting. I find it extremely interesting to take part in these discussions as it gives me great insight into the thought process and care that is taken when considering how to holistically support a resident at Bethell Hospice. Each care plan is individualized to the resident and their needs.

Every other Tuesday afternoon we have “high tea”, just like in Britain. The kitchen volunteers bring out the fine china, make egg salad and cucumber sandwiches, bake scones, make homemade preserves and whip up real whipped cream. This is always a treat as residents are often brought to the dining room, sometimes on their own, sometimes in wheelchairs and often in their beds, to enjoy a little something out of the ordinary routine. This is an event that is enjoyed by staff and residents alike and when I attend I feel a little bit like a young girl, sitting around at a tea party with friends.

I had the opportunity to attend the Bethell House AGM in September. It was hosted by the Board of Directors and included attendance or representation by the Mayors of two municipalities whose residents are served by the Hospice – Caledon and Brampton. It was a fairly typical AGM – annual report, auditor presentation, new Board appointments, guest speakers, etc., however, there was one moment that is embedded in my mind.

By coincidence, a Brampton Councillor, who was attending in the Brampton Mayor’s absence, stepped up to the podium to welcome the attendees. As he talked about the Hospice and all that it does for its residents, he became very emotional. He shared with the audience that at that very moment his brother was a resident at the Hospice and that he now had personal experience with the work that is done there. As he took a pause to regain his composure I glanced around the room and found hardly a dry eye. The employees from the Hospice knew his brother well and others at the meeting knew nothing about the situation, but seeing this larger than life man share his personal thoughts on his brother’s journey and his experience at Bethell Hospice was very touching. It was very nice to hear one person’s very real perspective on how the Hospice has affected him and his family.

I believe that I have mentioned this in a previous blog, but it is well worth repeating, at Bethell Hospice the focus is on caring, not curing and on life, not death. This message resounded with me as this man shared his personal journey.

One comment

  1. Wow Debbie, I’m extremely impressed. The compassion you write with is inspiring. Bethell Hospice is a wonderful place, they are compassionate caring people. Sounds like you fit right in.

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