Death and Life

What Exactly Does a Hospice Social Worker Do Anyway?

 

Besides basketball and St. Patrick’s Day, March is also Social Work month! It’s a time to share information about the career of a social worker and what social workers bring to the world.

I’ve worked with a lot of different populations through my career as a social worker, but I found my true passion when I became a hospice social worker over twelve years ago.  What do I do as a hospice social worker? Let’s start with a short introduction into hospice.

    Show Us Your Deck

    Show Us Your Deck
    We'd love for you to Show us your Deck...and tell us how you play with it!

    How to Help When Someone Is Experiencing Illness

    How to Help When Someone Is Experiencing Illness

    It’s so hard to know what to do and say when someone is experiencing illness.

    I’ve been going through some health issues which resulted in two surgeries within a month. The recovery from these surgeries has been slow. During this process, people have been very supportive and loving. Here’s a list of ten things that have helped to lift my spirits, made me feel less alone, and/or helped my family.

    In the End

    In the End
    The anniversary of my friend’s death is approaching. I began thinking about her and the process of watching her die. Here's the poem that seemed ...

    One Small Action

    One Small Action
    Talking about death and the planning involved is tough. We get it. It involves a lot of deep, emotional thought and can seem overwhelming. Where do you even begin? How about right here, right now by taking just one small step to being prepared and taking action.

    Talking to the Dead

    Talking to the Dead
    I’m comfortable with it now. When I first started talking to the dead, it felt incredibly awkward. Was this healthy? What if they start talking back? Was I losing my mind?

    The Importance of Game Playing

    The Importance of Game Playing
    I’ve always been a huge fan of games. I have fond childhood memories of a game closet filled with options and the endless hours spent playing pinball with my brother, card games with my mom and dad and Mahjong with my grandmother. This past holiday break, I stirred up those pleasant memories...

    On the 4th Anniversary of my Grandma's Death

    On the 4th Anniversary of my Grandma's Death

    Today, I remember my grandma before the dementia days. A strong German woman who subscribed to routine and hard work. We used to have family dinner at my grandparents every week while my brother and I were growing up. Sunday menu never varied; a baked ham, a bunch of hot dogs to supplement the ham that ran out, boiled potatoes, white Tupperware filled with beets, another Tupperware filled with carrots, and then being that they were bean farmers, a giant bowl of typically now lukewarm beans. Zucchini bread for desert although once in awhile some Neapolitan ice cream. Every week of my childhood this was the Sunday meal at grandmas house. The woman loved her routine.

    Why are we avoiding talking about death?

    Why are we avoiding talking about death?

    I thought we were prepared.

    Will. Check. Advance Health Care Directive. Check. Life Insurance. (Thankfully) Check.

    Final wishes, thoughts on leaving a legacy, funeral/celebration plans, end-of-life requests...Nope. None of these had been covered.

    Questions at End of Life

    Questions at End of Life
    “Tracy” was one of the most direct people I ever met. As she said from day one with hospice, she tolerated no bullshit. Tracy did not want a nurse who was going to be sweet and soft-spoken. She wanted her entire hospice team (nurse, social worker, chaplain, bath aids)  to “tell it like it is.”

    My Dad's Cancer Diagnosis Changed Our Family

    Dad and daughter, many years after initial cancer diagnosis
    Upon leaving the hospital, I saw a different man emerge. This man cried. He wrote in a journal every day. He became sentimental. He asked questions about my life. 

    Lisa & Lori Talk About Death

    Lisa & Lori Talk About Death
    Hospice is an unlikely place to meet a future business partner. But that’s exactly where The Death Deck creators Lisa Pahl and Lori LoCicero met.