Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Tradition

The holidays are a crazy time of year, but also the most wonderful time of year… ok that may have been a little cliché… but it is so true! I have been blessed with some wonderful Christmas memories this year that I don’t normally get to experience. I encourage you to either start new holiday traditions or revisit some old memories as I have done this year. It really helps bring the true spirit of the holidays back (just as we shared and accomplished with #GivingTuesday a couple Tuesday’s ago- in fact lets continue #GivingTuesday all December long!)
-          Visiting old friends you haven’t seen in a while. Social media makes it so easy. I recommend using #friendwithdrawls to drop hints of how bad you miss them!
-          Invite friends and family to attend events that raise money for local not-for-profit organizations to pay it forward- enjoy time with your friends to help others get what they want and need throughout the holidays and all year long like the Annual Red Carpet Gala coming in January in Marion, Illinois.
-          Drive a round and enjoy holiday lights and décor. Try to find the biggest blow up Santa you can find or get distracted by lights that flash to music. Now although not all light shows are this extravagant, this was truly amazing. Back in 2008 it popped up in my inbox and I saved it because I loved it so much! I will bring the best example I have to share with you:
Home Alone Poster-          Go back and remember all the things you loved as a child and reenact them with your closest friends and family like sliding down the hall with socks on, enjoying advent calendar chocolates, caroling or just exchanging stories about the good ol’ days of quoting every line of Benchwarmers and Home Alone.
-          Play games and the winners get a gift card donated to a local charity in their honor. Outside of just family and friends, this is a great idea to do with your co-workers as a team building experience too!
These are just a couple ways to honor those who have passed, remember those who are with you now, and lay the foundation for the bright future to come. Please share your suggestions to start new traditions, post your memories and explain how you contributed to the true spirit of the holidays.
Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grief and the Holidays

Grief & the Holidays
Trying to cope with the loss of a loved one during the holiday season is not easy. The holiday season is a naturally stressful time of the year. Spending time with family, cooking, and gift giving can all be very rewarding. However, being surrounded by a lot of people, preparing food, shopping, and wrapping gifts require time and effort.
The grieving process is a natural response to the loss of a significant relationship. During the grieving process and adjustment period following your loss, you can experience a wide range of emotional responses. At times, these emotional responses can be difficult to cope with and understand. Though there is no hard and fast solution to the grieving process. Listed below are some suggestions that may help to ease the stress and minimize the negative emotions people encounter during the holiday season.
1.      Set boundaries on your expectations and other’s expectations.
2.      Have a meeting or discussion with family and friends about holiday plans.
3.      Rehearse how you will respond to difficult situations beforehand.
4.      Observe the day in a way that has meaning for you. 
5.      Make the holiday an opportunity for healing, and day for renewal of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
6.      Be Flexible.
7.      Recreate or change traditions. Start something new.
8.      Bring special touches of your loved one to the holiday.
9.      Focus on the concept of gifts and gift giving. Buy a gift for yourself as well as others.
·      What is the gift you were given by your loved one?
·      What did they teach you about life and living?
·      What positive qualities did they bring out in you?
·      What was their purpose for being in your life?
10.  Have a plan.
There are opportunities for grief support available through Hospice of Southern Illinois. If you’d like assistance from a member of our counseling services team, please call (800) 233-1708 and request to speak with a member of our Counseling Services Department. Our counseling services are open to the community and Hospice of Southern Illinois families alike. 
Hospice of Southern Illinois, Counseling Department, facilitates monthly grief support groups on the second Wednesday of each month (3:00- 4:30 p.m.) at Relais Bonne Eau located at 7325 Marine Road, Edwardsville and on the third Wednesday of each month (3:00- 4:30 p.m.) at Garden Place Senior Living located at 351 Lockwood Drive, Red Bud. We also offer a Tree of Life Ceremony to honor and memorialize your deceased loved one. The Tree of Life Ceremony, where families can hang the name of their loved one on the Tree of Life and remember the one they love and lost. This ceremony is held at 3 locations on the first Sunday in December each year.
Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#GivingTuesday

Black Friday? Cyber Monday? … #GivingTuesday! Let me explain this “new day,” because today is the official start of the giving season and you can help spread the word and participate! We all know the history of the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. Then the more recent tradition of Cyber Monday was a day added with the popularity of internet shopping and social media. Now there is a day, #GivingTuesday, which is an initiative we anticipate can raise true excitement and joy, even more than the retail stores advertise.

This is the first year for #GivingTuesday. It all started when several foundations and non-profits got together to try and revive the true meaning of the holidays. It’s an initiative help remind people to experience the holidays in a way they may have forgotten. The initiative is to help remind people that it is about more than just shopping and getting good deals; it’s about giving back.
What opportunities are there for #GivingTuesday? Well that is easy! We don’t expect you to stop shopping for your favorite people and closest friends and family, however we do hope you can help us spread the word and participate. The easiest way is share this blog or other posts on your social media sites about #GivingTuesday
·        Another great and free way is to give your time and talents to something you are passionate about. Volunteer!
·        Consider the #HungryBears movement like my co-worker Leigh and I did and donate food to your local food pantry. Oh yeah, not just any food. Food you would enjoy for a meal like PB & J or Chicken Fetticcine Alfredo.  
·        Make a donation to your favorite charity, foundation or organization.
·        Get together with friends and be a host for someone less fortunate to brighten their holiday season, child or adult.
·        Donate some clothes, toys and household decorations you no longer use or want that are in good condition.
Hospice of Southern Illinois is excited to support this “new day” and initiative to encourage others to spread the word and participate in giving back. Help us kick off the giving season by donating to Hospice of Southern Illinois. Please visit our website www.hospice.org. We serve patients and families regardless of their ability to pay and it is donations from people like you who enable us to provide excellent hospice care to improve quality of life at the end of life. If Hospice of Southern Illinois is not your organization of choice, we still hope you spread the word and participate in the “new day” that is kicking off the true meaning of the holiday season #Giving Tuesday, giving back and receiving joy. What did you give today? Don't forget to use your Hashtag  #Giving Tuesday when you post today and all holiday season!
Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Questions Regarding Your Loved Ones Pain Management

Questions Regarding Your Loved Ones Pain Management

            Although I am not a nurse, from time to time I get to go and help the patients and their families face to face (rather than from behind my computer like I am now). Normally I blog to our online community, work with other social media and provide community education, but sometimes I help by starting the hospice process.
To start the hospice process, an admission nurse would come to the home or home-like setting after getting certification from a doctor that an individual is appropriate for hospice and evaluate the pain and symptoms of a patient to determine what medications and medical equipment would be necessary to get the patient comfortable as soon as possible. At this time the nurse often gets questions from the family regarding their loved one’s pain. Similarly, when I start the hospice process, I often get the same questions. So today I wanted to address some questions that families often ask during the first visit from a hospice. These same questions may be on the patient and family’s mind before even calling hospice and these answers may help a patient and their family decide it is ok to call hospice.
As you may notice, most answers are simply answered by answering the following questions; does this help the patient get comfortable and help get pain under control related to the terminal diagnosis? If the answer to the question above is yes, then often times the answer to the actual question will also be yes (but the patient, nurse and Medical Director will make the final decisions).

  • Is an oxygen tank an option while enrolled in a hospice program?
    • Yes, oxygen is always an option; especially if this will help make the patient more comfortable (hospice’s focus is comfort measures, rather than curative treatment).
  • Can current medications be continued while enrolled in a hospice program?
    • Yes, current medications can be continued, however the nurse and Medical Director will have to evaluate on a case by case basis whether these medications are in the best interest for the patients’ plan of care, which is determined by the patient and family. In fact, some current medications could be covered under the hospice benefit.
  • What types of IVs are used while enrolled in a hospice program?
    • IVs (intravenous method) are used for several reasons in hospice and sometimes they are not used at all depending on the needs and wants of a patient. One reason they are used is to distribute medicine (sometimes taking medicine in alternate ways like orally can be less painful for the patient). Another reason to use IVs is for fluid intake, which at times is necessary and at other times may not be necessary or even wanted (the nurse and Medical Director will decide on a case by case basis if IVs are needed based on the patients’ needs and wants).
  • Can feeding tubes be continued while enrolled in a hospice program?
    • Yes, feeding tubes can be continued as long as the patient is currently on a feeding tube and it will help keep them comfortable (for providing wanted nutrition) and pain free. It is recommended if a feeding tube is preferred by a patient, they should get one before enrolling in the hospice program because they are rarely provided by the hospice benefit.
Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

National Hospice Month

     That is what National Hospice Month is all about: raising awareness about what to expect during an end-of-life journey and get individuals the care they deserve providing comfort, love and respect. National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is in November and we are working with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization to help spread the message about how hospices can provide comfort, love and respect through their services.
     The most important thing for people to understand during national hospice month (and always for that matter) is that when it is time to call hospice, hospice is here to help patients and families figure out what to expect during this end-of-life journey. Hospice is a special health care option, here to make sure patients and families are having the best quality of life at end-of-life. A team of professionals will come into the home or home-like setting and provide compassionate care for the individual with a prognosis of 6 months or less to live. Now understand, if someone outlives that 6 month criteria, a doctor will assess the individual again on their pain and symptoms associated with the terminal diagnosis. If the individual still has a prognosis of 6 months or less, they are still eligible for our services beyond the 6 month criteria. This journey does not have to be experienced alone. Call a local hospice to find out how and where people can get the comfort, love and respect they deserve.
     One way a hospice can show comfort, love and respect is through patient centered care. The patients' wishes and needs are the most important piece of the circle of care. Another way, is relieving the stress of care giving by being another type of caregiver who is available for on-call support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Finally (but not last), hospices provide special training and programs to patients and families to ensure they are receiving the best quality care at the end-of-life to feel comfort, feel love and feel respect. Although only a few ways to show comfort, love and respect are listed, there are so many ways hospice organizations can show this to patients and families.
          Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MY HERO Online Photo Storybook

     November, recognized as National Hospice Month, is a big month for us. It is a whole month dedicated to spreading awareness about Hospice of Southern Illinois' mission to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their loved ones touched by a terminal illness. Not only is it important to discuss how a better quality of life can impact the patient and everyone around them, but it is also important to discuss programs, resources and benefits people are entitled to and eligable for. This is where November becomes an even bigger deal than normal.
     November also celebrates veterans and the sacrifices they made on Veterans Day. In 2011, we began a partnership with We Honor Veterans, a partnership with the NHPCO and the VA educates our staff about the unique needs of veterans and their families. Part of that education in the partnership includes getting Veterans and their families in touch with the right people to help them and help them understand benefits they can recieve that they are not currently getting.
     To celebrate National Hospice Month, our mission, Veterans Day and the We Honor Veterans partnership, we have created the MY HERO Online Photo Storybook, which highlights heroic service men and service women and will be launched on November 1, 2012. The MY HERO Online Photo Storybook will include submitted photos and a one-paragraph story in a Facebook Photo Album. Photos and stories can be submitted by 10/29 for a chance to win $100 gift card or after 10/30 to just be added to the Facebook Photo Album which will share and preserve the awesome strories from service men and service women in the communities we serve. {Click Here To Tweet This Info To A Friend}

     To learn more about Hospice of Southern Illinois or our efforts in spreading awareness about National Hospice Month and We Honor Veterans please call 1-800-233-1708. Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708


(First Entry from Julie Eastwood)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fulfilling a patient wish




     A grandfather, Donnie, wanted to leave a gift for his grandson, River, and family. Our doctor, Dr. Lynne Nowak, and I took Tuesday, September 18th as an afternoon to fulfill Donnie's wish. The adventure began at a friend, Bruce's, hunting ground, where Hospice of Southern Illinois' team captured the moments of Donnie, Dal (his son), and River (his grandson) on film on a dove hunt for him to pass along his legacy as a caring, loving and warm-hearted grandfather who has a passion for hunting and family!
     Enjoy the video Hospice of Southern Illinois has put together for him and his family of the dove hunting adventure they took at Fly-Way Sporting Goods in East Carondelet, Illinois. "It is moments and opportunities like this one that bring us back to why we do what we do. I was honored and inspired to get to spend time with Donnie and his family on Tuesday," says Christine Juehne, Print and Social Media Coordinator at Hospice of Southern Illinois.
     Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org


    

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hospice for Cancer Patients

{Please welcome our guest blogger: Danielle DiPietro from The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com}
Hospice and Pain Management for Cancer Patients
Hospice care provides a wide range of services for cancer patients. They offer medical monitoring, personal assistance and emotional support, as well as pain management. In one study, 67 percent of patients with metastatic cancer reported significant daily pain; for these patients, pain control is one of the most important services that hospice centers can provide.
Since higher levels of pain are related to higher rates of depression and lower rates of overall function, it is essential for cancer patients to find an effective pain control method. Hospice workers can develop a pain management plan that helps patients remain as comfortable as possible while maintaining a high quality of life.
Hospice workers are trained to interpret patient’s signals of pain and help them get through any painful symptom flare-ups that might occur. The on-staff doctor can adjust dosages and medications if the patient’s pain increases, or the nurses can help patients find a more comfortable resting position. The Medical Director will be able to arrange interventions on behalf of the patient if their pain is not adequately palliated. Federal guidelines are in place to make sure these professionals make every reasonable effort to help cancer patients control their pain.
Methods of Controlling Cancer Pain
Hospice patients have many different options for pain management. If they choose to go the pharmaceutical route, hospice doctors will typically start them off with an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen. If they need a stronger medication, they can try prescription medications such as fentanyl. Opioid medications have relieved pain in more than 90 percent of patients in certain studies.
Patients who are more interested in non-pharmaceutical methods of pain control have several different options, including:
·         Herbal pain relievers (i.e. white willow bark)
·         Acupuncture
·         Therapeutic massage
·         Chiropractic care
Unlike pills, these therapies are associated with a low risk of dependency or side effects. These therapeutic interventions can control pain for a temporary period of time, and they can easily be repeated whenever necessary.
However, hospice organizations do not directly provide these services. A hospice care worker may be able to transport patients to a third-party facility that does offer these pain-relief services. The goal of the hospice caregiver is to find methods of pain management that the patient prefers and feels most comfortable with. Patients can openly communicate with their hospice provider to discuss pain management options that best suit their needs and preferences.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.
Source:
Douglass, A. Managing Pain at the End of Life. American Family Physician (1 Oct 2001).
{Guest Blogger:
Danielle DiPietro
(407) 434-0732 ext. 24
Public Outreach
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com}

Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org
 
 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Full Circle Hospice Experience

I want to share an experience with you from last week because it really gave me an appreciation for the work I do, the organization I work for, the people I work with and the patients and families who have experiences with Hospice of Southern Illinois. My job consists of lots of time in front of the computer, lots of time brainstorming with my team and lots of networking with professionals about how our services can help patients. I don’t usually get to work with the patients and families, but last week I was given the opportunity to meet with a patient and a family and share with them how our services may be able to help.
I walked into a very tidy home, down a hallway and into the bedroom of a very alert, slightly uncomfortable person and their caregiver. While both of them were very friendly, saying hello and welcoming me in, they had a concerned tone in their voices and look on their faces. Without too much more thought about what they were wondering about me, (because I could only imagine what I would be thinking if a 24 year old woman came into my to talk to me about hospice, a word that is often avoided) I opened the conversation with some small talk to let them know I was there to help answer questions and help get them the resources they needed.
After the concern left their faces and I knew they felt they could trust me, I moved into conversation about Hospice of Southern Illinois’ services how we help control pain associated with terminal illnesses, how all medical equipment is provided at no cost to patients related to the terminal illness and how we are available to call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with questions or emergencies. After agreeing that hospice would help improve the quality of life of the person I was visiting, I gave our doctor, Dr. Lynne Nowak, a call.
After hearing her in action, it all hit me. Hospice is not a word to be avoided; it should be a word of relief. I mean I had been taught that before, told that before and seen it before, but that day and in that moment, I got to experience it again. Moments like that make you understand why I do what I do. The doctor I work with every day, Dr. Nowak, was already telling me when the nurse would come out and talking about ordering supplies with her team back at the office. It was like a firework of compassion had gone off and I got to hear it with my own ears and in front of the person who needed it most. Besides the concern leaving their faces, I could see relief setting in as fast as our doctor was talking.
Several weeks later I learned that the individual that I visited that day, who even shared with me a nickname only the family knows, wanted to come celebrate my wedding with me and had pride for a clean home and happy family, had passed away. This was a very emotional moment for me. I have not experienced much loss in my life and although I only met with this person for an hour, the impact left on my heart was a big one.
When I think back to that day I think of how I really got to see our team in action. They moved so fast and so efficient, but with so much passion and determination to make this patient as comfortable as possible in the shortest amount of time. The people I work with every day had completed their first visit and ordered oxygen and other medical supplies for the patient within hours and had a plan of care set with the patient and family’s wishes in mind by the very next day.
Wow is that powerful! In only one hour, I, hospice was able to relieve a patient and their family from some stress associated with a terminal illness. In only one more hour, some of the physical pain related to the diagnosis was gone. And within minutes, the family was connected to resources they would need over the next few weeks. I am so appreciative of my encounter with that patient and their family that day. They helped me remember why I do what I do. I have to admit that sometimes sad, and this time it was. I was glad I got to experience this moment in my life because I got to see how hospice can change a person’s quality of life within hours, maybe even minutes, advocating for the best care the patient could get. That day was one I will remember a long time because while I felt like I got to help someone in need, they probably helped me even more.
Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My experience with hospice. By: Angela Lammers

My summer 2012 internship at Hospice of Southern Illinois was an experience I would never change for anything. On my first day, I went through orientation where I learned about Hospice of Southern Illinois and the goal they strive to reach each day. I found out that there are many aspects to keep a business running and how every little thing is critiqued until everyone is satisfied. Each day at Hospice of Southern Illinois was different, which I really enjoyed. I never knew what to expect, but was always ready for a challenge. My main focus each day was to reach out to individual businesses and get the word out about Relais Bonne Eau, Hospice of Southern Illinois' Hospice Home. It was also my responsibility each day to make sure I was able to complete my tasks given, which varied. 
I found that what benefited me the most as an intern at Hospice of Southern Illinois was each day I had to be prepared for something different and be able to take on any challenges that may occur.  Through this experience, the thing I liked best about it was broadening my knowledge about marketing and being able to get firsthand experience, rather than just reading and learning about it in a classroom.  I enjoyed my time at Relais Bonne Eau and would be willing to come back if they ever needed any extra help.  Hospice of Southern Illinois is a great place to work and I feel honored to be able to put a business like this on my resume.
-Angela Lammers

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My experience with hospice. By: Zoe Sikes

         
When I started my internship at Hospice of Southern Illinois, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew that I would be in the Community Education department, working with the marketing and advertising aspects of the company, but beyond that, I really didn’t know that much about hospice.  Every single day was a learning experience and every day was something new.  The Community Education department of Hospice of Southern Illinois does exactly what it says—educates the community about hospice.  Before my fellow intern, Angela, or I could educate the community, we first had to learn exactly what hospice was and what it is that Hospice of Southern Illinois does differently.  Our first couple of weeks, we shadowed our mentor Candice as she showed us what she does on a daily basis.  She taught us how to market a not-for-profit organization, build business relationships, and educate the community.  Eventually, Angela and I were able to go out in the community ourselves to teach people about Relais Bonne Eau, Your Community Hospice Home in Edwardsville, where Angela and I spent most of our time.
While the focus of the internship was with community education and marketing, we learned much more than just that.  What I loved so much about this experience was that they really wanted this to be a learning experience for us.  To do this, they exposed us to so much more than just hospice or marketing.  We were given the opportunity to shadow Christine, who works with the print and social media aspect of the organization.  Candice set up meetings for us with local business people to learn about what they do. We were even allowed to join in at Chamber of Commerce luncheons, something I would have never known about.  They wanted us to get as much as we could out of our time here. 
My experience working with Hospice of Southern Illinois has been nothing short of great.  They went above and beyond to give us knowledge that we can take with us far beyond this summer.  I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to learn and to grow.   
-Zoe Sikes

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence



I would like to start off wishing you all a wonderful and worry free Independence Day (tomorrow). We all enjoy this day for obvious reasons a day off of work, delicious food with family and friends, and hopefully a dry day to enjoy festivities and fireworks, but what I think we take for granted sometimes is what independence day is all about. I know you have heard this story 100 times, but I may have some different insight because this story is about our staff and their patients and families, so please keep reading. You may get some perspective that can give you a new found freedom!
It is nice to go back in time and remember what makes this day in history so important to us. This takes us back to the 18th century during the American Revolution, a political battle when the 13 colonies were fighting for their independence from Great Britain.  Finally on the 4th of July, the declaration was signed that we were freed from Great Britain and could govern our country as we wished to do. Now that does not mean there were not struggles after our declaration on the 4th of July. As we all know there were many along the way, but it lifted weights and started movements that made our country the great place to live that it is today.  
Now let’s fast forward to 2012. We live in a place where we can have days off of work, enjoy any food we like and watch fireworks in the distance (sometimes even up close!), but consider those who maybe are living in a country of freedom, but feel trapped. In hospice care, patients and families are struggling just as our forefathers did in the battle for our independence. They are struggling to relieve pain, be spiritually and emotionally at ease and have the best quality of life that they can. Do you see any history repeating itself here? This may seem like a stretch, but really when you evaluate the situation, patients and families may even get all of these controlled and still encounter unknowns and struggles.
The point I am trying to make is that with all that we encounter and with everything we do to fight for our freedom, it can’t be done alone and should not be taken for granted. Hospice is a special option which is here for patients and families everywhere to do just what John Adams and Thomas Jefferson did for our county, create a safe haven to help ensure freedom: a pain free-at ease-good quality of life for all. Please keep in mind as you enjoy your 4th of July (and all your other days of freedom) that everyone may not be feeling free. They may not get a day off like many of my fellow co-workers, not have family and friends to celebrate with or a place to enjoy the celebration. So when someone like this (or anyone) walks into your life, even for a second or forever, remember people in every profession and in every situation can take time to help someone feel some ounce of freedom, because as John Foppe’s described it “Help us help others, and you’ll help yourself. It goes full circle.” Be an advocate for freedom, because you and everyone around you deserve it!
Photo: Our intake nurse, Bobbie, handles all inquiries with our program to ensure each patient and family is talked to with respect, dignity and compassion and she connects them with the appropriate care team. She is ready for 4th of July! Anyone else? (Check out those red shoes, white jeans and blue top- not to mention her jewelry!)Independence Day Fun Fact: “In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of teh United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.” (Wikipedia, 2012)
{Our intake nurse, Bobbie, handles all inquiries with our program to ensure each patient and family is talked to with respect, dignity and compassion and she connects them with the appropriate care team. She is ready for 4th of July! Anyone else? (Check out those red TOMS shoes, white jeans and blue top- not to mention her jewelry!)}

Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When is hospice right for me?

When is hospice right for me?
If someone were to tell you, “You have 6 months to live. I think it is time to call hospice,” what would you be thinking? Whether that person is your doctor, your family member, or your friend you will probably be thinking, “How do you know?” I know if someone told me this, I would be the first person to wonder beyond their statement and consider options to heal my disease. I would not want to give up. I would not let hospice shorten my time here on earth. Unfortunately, these assumptions go through too many minds and are in fact, false.
First of all, when that person tells you, “you have 6 months to live,” what they are really talking about is the disease, not you. Based on the scientific make-up of your diagnosis, if it progresses on its normal schedule then it will take 6 months for the disease to run its course. We all know that science doesn’t always prove “normal”. People live shorter than the 6 month diagnosis and people live longer than the 6 month diagnosis. It is completely normal for those thoughts to enter your mind, but remember hospice focuses on comfort care and improving the quality of life. By no means do we want you to give up! The only thing we want you to give up is to give up being in pain. If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, definitely give hospice a call to see if they can help you.
Next, healthcare professionals and peers alike can all understand, if not relate, to the shock and confusion that enters the minds of people when they hear those words, “6 months or less to live” or “hospice”. The one point we want to emphasize is that hospice does not mean give up or shortening life. Hospice is a choice that if selected includes you (or your loved one) in the plan of care every step of the way. It is an option which surrounds the patient and family with physical, emotional, social and spiritual support from a team of specialize healthcare professionals that can give care and services that others may not be able to provide. With no intentions of shortening or extending a life, Hospice is here to make those final days on earth as comfortable and peaceful as possible. We allow the disease to run its “normal” process intervening only with pain and symptom management, comfort care and support as much or little as requested and needed warranted by a physician.  
We have found that the average length of stay in hospice across the United States is 67.4 days from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in 2010, which is down several days on average from 2009 and 2008. Only 67.4 days, when our services are available for 180 (and sometimes more as warranted by a physician), is very unfortunate. We could be assisting people who are in pain much longer than given the opportunity. Now, we are very sure that these numbers reflect the scenario I painted at the beginning of this blog. While we understand the uncertainty, we hope that through education and healthcare professionals’ guidance we can get patients and families to accept that hospice is a good thing and is only here as a special healthcare option to enhance the quality of life of patient and family.
Now, how do you know if it is time for hospice besides the fact that the doctor said you are eligible and they have certified you hospice appropriate? There are three general criteria:
1.        When a patient has a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less
2.       Comfort care and symptom management are the primary focus
3.       Curative treatment is no longer the patient’s choice or option
When all of the above are true, it is time to call hospice. We are there to answer any questions you have and provide excellent care to respect the dignity and life of patients and families. Remember, it is always ok to graduate, seek curative treatment or the patient has taken a turn for the better and no longer needs hospice services, but should that not be the case we hope that when someone recommends us and says, “I think it is time to call hospice,” patients and families can see the benefits of pain and symptom management, comfort care and support and give us the privilege of caring for you.  
After deciding hospice is right for you (beyond your doctor just recommending it), understand want you to feel welcome, at peace and ready. We feel that no one should go through the dying process alone and when that time comes hospice is right here for you, facing the future together. Call hospice today to learn more about hospice services. Our specialized team will help you every step of the way, prepare you for thing you may not expect, and help relieve the unknowns and stresses associated with terminal illness. Hospice can help!  
Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Apply big inspiration to everyday issues

While I truly love what I do at Hospice of Southern Illinois, there are a couple times a year when my job is an absolute blast and a wonderful growing experience. Sunday was one of those days. Not only did I get some really great information, but I got a whole lot of inspiration! Inspiration is the something that gives people hope, and that is exactly what I want to share with you today: hope and inspiration.
Sunday I was working at a Healthy Women Event in Collinsville, Illinois. The event offered a variety of free health screenings, information on healthy living, and information on healthcare services. A special guest was in store that I was excited about, but didn’t have many expectations good, bad or indifferent. When 2:00 p.m. approached, I found a friend and waited for this “famous TV personality” to start her motivational talk as the emcee announced, “Welcome Ali Vincent, winner of season 5’s Biggest Loser and first female contestant of the show.”
Ali walked out flaunting her strong arms wearing a blue tank top and showing off her muscular legs in a tight mini skirt and high heels. She had a confidence about her and then as I listened to her speak I realized she struggled with her quality of life just as people do all over the world. She was just like any of us, but now more confident and knowledgeable than ever! What happened? Yes, she lost over a hundred pounds and it had everything to do with that, but it also had nothing to do with that. What happened? I would like to share some great points of hers with you now. While I cannot recall every word that came out of her mouth, and no she didn’t give us her secret workout recipe because she said there isn’t one, she did give us was a dose of hope and inspiration. Here is what happened.
Throughout her journey she began to shift her thoughts from why is this happening to me, to this has to happen to me. As the scale reflected a lighter Ali, her mind reflected a bigger lifestyle change. As the choices for a better life seemed impossible before, she chose to make them possible in her future. What happened was not only a physical transformation, but a mental transformation and that is exactly what I want you to take away from this. She got big inspiration to win the title of Biggest Loser, from an everyday issue like being overweight. She gave us inspiration because she struggled just like we do. She gave us in spiration because she made choices, believed and talked about it. She gave us inspiration because she made it possible! If she can do it, we can do it! Take her hope and inspiration and impliment it. Yes I want you to implement it for your goals in fitness and goals in your job or any goals you have, but consider it even the everyday issues. Issues like your future; future as in end-of-life. Make a choice for a better quality of life at the end of life.    

First of all, she made a point that we should believe in the impossible. For example, the people of Biggest Loser said it was not possible for a female to win the show because a female who had the same weight and exerted the same effort as a male, the male would always be able to come out ahead. Ali said, “Possible! She just had to work harder than the male then!”
She made another point that we should tell people about our goals and they will support you, even people you never thought would. For example, (Ali was on the pink team with her mother, just so you know.) when she was working out at home in the local gym (because she was kicked of the show during game-play but later got the opportunity to return to the ranch) she would always wear her pink shirt happily representing the color that represented females. She began noticing girls everywhere were rooting for her too. Possible! They were wearing pants that said, “Team Pink,” on the back. (Definitely not associated with the famous Victoria Secret Line, but rooting for her!)
The most important point I took away was that she said she never even thought it was possible until she was ready to accept it and once she realized impossible was a choice, she did accepted the possible! She could feel it in her every step, taste it with every bite and imagine it with every thought. After she accepted the challenge to believe in everything she deserved, she knew it was all POSSIBLE! At the end of her presentation she challenged us all to go get a goal and then tell someone about it.
Now after hearing her speak, I would like to extend her challenge to you. It may not be easy and it may not be fun, but whether you are a Biggest Loser like Ali, avid gardener, food enthusiast, stylish fashion-ista, sport junkie, healthcare advocate, politician, or whatever defines who you are, take the challenge; Make end of life choices; believe in your end-of-life options; tell people about your end-of-life options. Take the challenge! Make a choice for a better quality of life at the end of life and then talk about it! 

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education
1-800-233-1708
www.hospice.org

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Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message: Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones. No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help.