Here I sit at the end of hospice IDT (interdisciplinary team) meeting with a sense of sadness. I feel compelled to write this entry. We have just reviewed and had a quiet moment for all the patients who have died in the last week. The list is long as usual but what saddens me the most is there are names on this list that I’ve never heard before. To be the Medical Director of a hospice and to not recognize a name is a tragedy. If this only happened once in a while it wouldn’t be so sad but it happens every week without fail. Why does this happen? It happens because so many patients and families don’t know about the benefits of hospice care. They don’t realize that hospice is about LIVING not dying. It’s about living the rest of your life on your terms, living your life with as much quality as possible, it’s about allowing your family to participate in a part of your life that will unfold no matter what we do. If you couple the above with physicians avoiding conversations related to End-of-Life Care, you get patients referred to hospice in the last hours and days of their life. I look at these names and feel regret for the patients and families as I think how much help our hospice team could have been physically, spiritually, psychologically and socially if we’d been involved during the last six months of their life. Next week I’ll have to start my apologies all over again to a list of names I’ve never seen before. “Sorry, I don’t recognize your name” I’ll be muttering under my breath as I go down the list and read the names one by one.
It seems like just yesterday I posted my last blog entry, but it was over 18 months ago. It’s true the older you get the faster time flies. I’m sure people have wondered what happened to me (not that I’m that popular :-)), but life has happened to me. I have so many ideas for blog entries but never get around to writing them. I think I have a false expectation for myself. I guess with great blogs like Pallimed and Geripal out there it makes me feel like writing long thoughtful entries are the way to go. I’m going to try and write short but hopefully powerful entries. If you have continued to follow this blog, thank you, it has a special place in my heart.