Spiritual Care Provider
Hospice Palliative Care Team
I’ve always loved working with people. I work with patients who are receiving palliative care at home or in residential hospice. I consider it a privilege whenever I meet with patients and their families.
My interaction with patients is often very different. There are some patients I meet who seem to be waiting with their questions, and it doesn’t take long for them to share what they’re struggling with. Other times it can take a few visits before they feel ready to trust and share what is especially meaningful to them.
When they’re ready and they’re comfortable – it comes out. They may want to talk about a spiritual struggle. My role is not to tell them what to believe but to gently help them explore what they’re thinking about or concerned with.
Their questions may revolve around faith and family. Perhaps they want to reconcile their relationship with a higher entity or make amends with a family member or say the words that have gone unsaid. They may even want to explore the purpose of their lives, the meaning of their current situation, and the legacy they’re leaving behind.
I’m always thankful that I get to hear the patients’ life stories and spiritual stories. I’m deeply grateful for the moments when I can see that something that’s been said – perhaps by me or by the patients themselves – has made a difference. Maybe a struggle is lifted or a decision is made, and you can see a positive shift in how they feel. Those moments don’t happen every visit, and you don’t always see them coming, but when they do, I know they make a difference for patients and their families.
Coming to the office and working with my colleagues is very important to me. I work with people who devote so much of their time to caring for others and that it is an inspiration to me. One lesson that I am constantly relearning in my job is to be aware of what’s important in life. I frequently meet people who say, “I wish I could go back in time,” and their wish tends to revolve around their spirituality and their family. It’s a reminder for all of us to look for ways to take a breath, find joy, and discover peace in little ways every day.