Caregiver of 30 Years Has a Gift of Providing End-of-Life Care

Elizabeth K. has been a caregiver for the past 30 years. She joined Heart ‘n Home in July of 2006 and has provided well over 10,000 visits to hospice patients in the Treasure Valley. She has also cared for numerous family members with her amazing gift of end-of-life care. Elizabeth’s patients are always well-taken care of – down to the finest details. Recently, after caring for a patient for just

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Elizabeth K., Hospice CNA

shy of three years, Elizabeth shared a moment with me that I will never forget. When her patient moved here she hadn’t bathed in months and would not let anyone help her. After Elizabeth’s sweet persuasion, she was able to get her into the shower and continued to provide her with a shower every week.  Elizabeth would listen as the patient talked about her deepest fears, working through her journey.

Elizabeth talked about how much she missed her and the time they were able to spend together over the past three years. Elizabeth has a gift for understanding people and meeting them where they are at in their journey. In fact, one of our Nurses caught Elizabeth providing a patient with legendary service. This gentle man with dementia was unable to communicate his needs or wants. The Nurse sat and watched Elizabeth communicate by her amazing smile and knowledge of what he needed. The smile on Elizabeth’s face while providing cares could have lit up any room, and the smile on the patients face and gentle pat to Elizabeth’s arm was proof of the amazing care she had provided. This is Elizabeth’s product, every day, every time.

In the time Elizabeth has been with Heart ‘n Home she has been dependable, punctual, and provided her patients with consistent legendary care. If I needed someone to care of me, I would choose Elizabeth!  She is a rock, steady for all who need her. Elizabeth will be retiring this year after 10 years of service. One request she had when planning her retirement was that she would be able to train her replacement so she can ensure that the patients she cares for so much are given the care that is legendary to Elizabeth. As her Supervisor, I know there is not another person more fit to take on this responsibility. What a gift she is giving to bring up the next generation of caregivers.

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Ashley Holaday-Copeland

 

Ashley Holaday-Copeland
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC
Fruitland, IdahoWork-In-Hospice

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Being a CNA is Much More Than ‘Bathing Patients’

As a new Hospice Social Worker, I was apprehensive to shadow a CNA for my training, as I knew this meant bathing patients. When I entered the first home with our Hospice CNA, Jodie L., I saw

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Jodie L. is now a Program Representative here at Heart ‘n Home.

a patient lying in a hospital bed, resting quietly as his family surrounded his bed … crying. They asked Jodie to bathe him as they wanted him to be as clean as possible when he passed. I stepped back with the family and caregivers to let Jodie work.

She stepped to the patient’s bedside, stroked his hair back from his face, and leaned down to quietly speak to him. “How are you doin’ today, darlin’? You ready to get all clean today? We are going to make you feel so nice.” Jodie collected the items she needed and began to provide a bed bath to the patient. She was quick and efficient while still managing to be calm and gentle with the patient. Jodie lovingly covered each part of the patient that wasn’t being washed to keep him warm and comfortable. Even though the patient was unresponsive, Jodie talked to him the whole time in her sing-song voice cooing softly to the patient and adjusting her actions to how he responded.

This was my first experience with Jodie. When I met her that day, she greeted me with a smile (as always), shuffled me into the car (we had a schedule to keep), and brought me into the world of a Hospice CNA. Jodie handled her patients with kindness and gentleness, being ever mindful of their privacy and comfort. It was clear Jodie was invested in her patients and her kind disposition was more than a personality trait – it was a true reflection of the joy she felt for her work and those she serves every day. Although I had been hesitant, my day of shadowing Jodie turned out to be one of my most memorable experiences of my hospice career so far. It was on that day I learned being a CNA is so much more than “bathing patients.”

Because Jodie has been with Heart ‘n Home since April of 2010, we have had many opportunities to receive feedback from patients and coworkers. She is often mentioned in thank you cards we receive from patients’ loved ones. Families often remark on her smile, “Rain or shine she will be there with a smile on her face.” When Jodie arrives on time to a patient’s home to provide care, she is familiar with what is on the Plan of Care for that day. She is also familiar with how that patient prefers those cares to look – what a bath looks like for one patient can look completely different for the next. Jodie takes time to prepare herself and her patient to prevent the least amount of discomfort. She is able to strike a balance between communicating to her patients she cares for them, while maintaining professionalism in the home. One patient stated to me, “I love it when Jodie comes. She always makes me feel like I am her only patient that day. She is always happy to see me and cares about what is going on in my life.”

In addition to the cares Jodie provides in patients’ homes, she is also the definition of “team player.” Jodie is always willing to jump in and help her team, whether covering extra visits or answering the phone. Jodie’s ability to build relationships is evident within the office, as she conveys a genuine care for her teammates. One teammate stated, “Jodie has a great personality and is uplifting even in tough moments. She is able to relate and show compassion for others’ situations.” Another stated, “Jodie is truly an amazing CNA and overall person. Every time I bring up her name to patients they have nothing but wonderful things to say about her. She treats her patients the way she would want her family members treated. Her team appreciates her hard work day in and day out.”

One staff member who also shadowed Jodie during training stated, “I left those visits with Jodie feeling empowered to help others in my new job; not feeling saddened by their disease, but excited by the joy of helping them live for the moment. I would want Jodie to be my Hospice CNA!”

I struggled a bit to write this essay. Not because it is hard to say wonderful things about Jodie, but because it is hard to capture the magic of what she does in printed word. If ever you are looking to be inspired; to find someone who truly loves the work they do to see the impact one human can have on another – talk to Jodie. Watch her interact. You will see the joy she brings to her patients and families, as well as her team. We are lucky to have her!

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Annie Estvold, LCSW

 

Annie Estvold, LCSW
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLCWork-In-Hospice
Caldwell Executive Director

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