published in the Davis Enterprise on July 15, 2012
[pullquote2 quotes=”true” align=”right” cite=”Darlene Allwright”]The first time I went out on a home visit with a hospice nurse, my senior year in nursing school, I knew caring for hospice patients was my reason for being[/pullquote2]
Darlene Allwright has spent her entire, 17-year nursing career as a hospice nurse. “The first time I went out on a home visit with a hospice nurse, my senior year in nursing school, I knew caring for hospice patients was my reason for being,” said Darlene.
Three days after receiving her nursing license, Darlene was offered a job in hospice. She accepted the job and has never looked back. She glows from within when discussing her self-described calling.
Darlene takes pride in the expert clinical care, authentic compassion, attentive guidance and faithful companionship provided by the Yolo Hospice team. “I’m like a midwife,” said Darlene. “But I’m there for the last months of life and the last breath, instead of the first. You must respect and accept every patient and the hard, laboring work they do to give birth to their soul.”
Darlene has grown attached to every one of her special patients. ”When you go into the patients’ homes, they are not only opening a door, but their hearts open to you at a vulnerable time,” said Darlene. “We need to open our hearts as well.” Based on the deep appreciation experienced by those receiving care, Darlene and the Yolo Hospice team wish that hospice would be called earlier so that the patients and their loved ones could receive the maximum support benefits of hospice care.
When Darlene began her career she was told, “Hospice is 80% psychosocial and spiritual. Twenty percent is medically related.” Based on her experience, Darlene agrees with the estimate. Yolo Hospice assigns a team of trained specialists to each patient and their loved ones because hospice is so much more than clinically caring for an ill patient. It takes a team to deliver the complement of care. The Yolo Hospice team for each patient is composed of a registered nurse like Darlene, a social worker, hospice aide, spiritual care counselor, volunteers and bereavement counselors. Each team member, regardless of specialty area, is attentive to the care of the whole person – body, mind and spirit.
Accepting the need for hospice care can feel emotionally heavy, and make it difficult to move forward or discuss options. This often delays critical aspects of the hospice discussion. Yolo Hospice’s experts are willing and available to help. We gently educate people about the benefits of embracing our services earlier. Yolo Hospice patients are supported by specialists, encouraged to set life goals, and to live as fully as possible during the remaining time. If there are no treatment options for your illness, or you no longer wish to pursue available options, hospice will support you to live every day as best you can, on your terms. The sooner hospice assistance is accepted, the sooner you may focus on life and your loved ones.
[pullquote2 quotes=”true” align=”center” cite=”Darlene Allwright”]There is a silver lining in being given a poor prognosis, one that not everyone sees or uses. When someone is in hospice care, the patient and loved ones have a chance to have closure and say goodbye. The opportunity, when taken, is immensely helpful to the patient and their loved ones left behind.[/pullquote2]
“There is a silver lining in being given a poor prognosis, one that not everyone sees or uses,” said Darlene. “When someone is in hospice care, the patient and loved ones have a chance to have closure and say goodbye. The opportunity, when taken, is immensely helpful to the patient and their loved ones left behind.”
Darlene graciously offers five recommendations to help achieve closure and say goodbye:
- Ask forgiveness of each other (whether there is anything to forgive or not).
- Say, “I forgive you.”
- Say, “Thank you for being in my life.”
- Say, “I love you.”
- Say, “It is ok to go.”
Whether or not you’re able to express these, a gift you can give your loved one is to be present and hold space with them. “The strongest medicine is your loving presence,” says Darlene.
Based on her experience, Darlene believes that hospice patients are moving towards something new. It is not death they are heading to, but a transition.
Whether you believe as Darlene does or not, Yolo Hospice recommends you contact us as early as possible to learn more about how hospice services can benefit you or your loved one.
If you or someone you care about might be helped by hospice, don’t delay getting information. Yolo Hospice will explain options with you by phone, or by sending team members to meet you for an informational discussion. Yolo Hospice will answer your questions and be available as a resource to you. Please call 530-758-5566 to talk about Yolo Hospice services today.