By Barbara Goll, Community Education Liaison and Nutritionist
When thinking about how we have all been affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I was reminded of a recent holiday gift. It was a snow globe. But instead of a cute holiday scene, I see our current world inside the snow globe being shaken vigorously. White specks swirling like a tornado circling the world in every which way. At this point in time, the turbulence is strong but the specks are slowly starting to descend. What will the specks look like upon settling? When will all be quiet, calm and still? Regardless when, it is safe to say that everyone will be affected, like the specks, and changed with a new normal this pandemic has created.
At Homeland, we celebrate the commitment, resilience and resourcefulness of all the dedicated staff devoted to caring for our patients. The decisions you have been forced to make relating to patients, family and co-workers to prevent the spread of this virus have been numerous and tough. The hugs and gentle touches we have given for comfort, we are unable to give. Clear distress and emotions of patients, co-workers and families, we have tried to calm. Not to mention the personal anguish inside each of us dealing with our own situations making it overwhelming and numbing to get through each day.
Families and patients have to deal with suffering alone instead of being surrounded by loved ones at a time when it is most needed. Not able to touch, comfort, and be with someone at the end of life goes against all that hospice stands for and creates unimaginable pain.
National Health Care Decisions Day is April 16. As COVID-19 challenges loved ones from gathering and making end-of-life decisions, the need for us to inspire and educate on the importance of advanced care planning remains a priority. Major decisions for families and patients need to be made but the current restrictions in our healthcare systems make that more difficult. The layers of communication required between doctors, specialists and families to be able to make important decisions have changed dramatically. This “new normal” will affect patients and their family’s lives forever.
Buffie Finney, clinical nurse liaison, had this to say, “A lot of my time these past several weeks has been attempting to pull pieces of patient’s puzzled lives together, often leaving families and patients in tears while social workers in the hospitals are frustrated. What a help it would be to have health care decision documents in order prior to a crisis situation so families have clear direction on their loved ones wishes.”
Homeland offers a “My Reflections” workbook and workshop to accomplish end of life planning. This initiative encourages patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes whatever they may be.
As for all the Heroes at Homeland whose humanity has been unsurpassed, you are loved and so much appreciated by the communities you serve. Let’s all show gratitude towards each other no matter what role is being played for the greater good of the people we serve. Keep the much needed laughter and jokes coming. God bless us all!