Uvalde Hospice Gives Thanks for Caregivers

Thanksgiving is an opportune time to recognize those individuals who dedicate themselves to the care of a loved one

Uvalde Hospice Gives Thanks for Caregivers

Uvalde Hospice staff in November 2011

For most Americans, November is a month they look forward to.  It is a month filled with family time, delicious food, and some great football games.  November is also known for being a time to give thanks.  For the staff of Uvalde Hospice, the month also holds additional significance: November is National Hospice Month and National Caregivers month.  For the staff of Uvalde Hospice, the two observances go hand-in-hand with one another and the Thanksgiving holiday.  This time of the year also provides the perfect opportunity to recognize and give thanks to the people who play a pivotal role in the Hospice team: the Hospice patient’s caregiver.

The term “caregiver” can refer to a variety of people on the Hospice team.  In some instances, it can refer to a physician, nurse, or other medical professional who administers care to the patient.  Medical caregivers promote comfort and care by managing pain and other end-of-life symptoms.  Other support staff caregivers, such as social workers and chaplains, pay special attention to emotional and spiritual needs.

Many times the patient is fortunate enough to have more than just a medical caregiver.  Often, a patient’s family members or friends often step into the role of caregivers.   Uvalde Hospice Administrator Sharon Hutchinson, RN, observes, “[The caregiver’s role is] the most important one.  They are the people that the patient counts on the most, for physical help and especially emotional security.”

The Hospice staff share positive feelings about their work as caregivers.

“I feel like Hospice is a calling and that this is where I’m supposed to be,” Joe Navarro, Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and Assistant Administrator for Uvalde Hospice.

For Hutchinson, it is the sense of connection that she cherishes most.  “[Working in the Hospice field] gives me the chance to actually care for a patient.  I get to know them so well and get to know their families, too.  It’s a unique relationship, especially in today’s busy healthcare environment.”   Marla Palmer, RN, Uvalde Hospice Case Manager, echoes the sentiment: “Working for Hospice allows me to care for a patient in their own home and work with the entire family.  Hospice is patient-directed care.”

For some Hospice staff members, the caregiver’s journey is something he or she has experienced before.  “I have the upmost respect for caregivers because I’ve been there.   I walked in their shoes when I was my dad’s caregiver from 2004 to 2005,” Navarro said.

Uvalde Hospice offers compassionate care for patients living with a life-limiting illness and their families. “We provide medical, emotional, and spiritual support to our patients and their caregivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We are the people you can call day or night who will provide in-home care to those with a terminal illness,” Uvalde Hospice Administrator Sharon Hutchinson, RN, said.

While Hospice does deal with end-of-life care for patients, the scope of Hospice’s role is great and can help patients and families through the difficulties and confusion of being diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Hospice’s goal is to have their patients live as fully as possible until death.  

 “People need to know that Hospice provides support for every need:  a doctor who does house calls, a nurse that’s available 24/7, a home health aide to help around the house, a social worker who helps make any planning decisions and provides emotional support to your family, and finally, a chaplain to help with spiritual guidance,” Palmer said.

On behalf of Uvalde Memorial Hospital and Uvalde Hospice, thanks to each and every person who has taken on the role of caregiver to their loved one.  We are very thankful for your daily dedication to the important role you are responsible for. 

For more information about Uvalde Hospice and its services, please call (830) 278-6691.