I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about Medicare or the business aspects of hospice. Every once in a while, I get a chance to tell a feel good story about a patient or something above and beyond that a hospice has done for a patient. I don’t spend enough time talking about the thing that makes hospice so special – The Workers.
If you have been doing hospice for more than a year, you should be given a medal. Better yet, you should get to drive alone in the carpool lane, use the express lane when you have 12 items instead of the ten you are allowed, and have the cable guy show up on time to install your new channels. In all seriousness, if you are one of that crazy breed of people who were wired to provide hospice care for a career, then you are, in my book, nothing short of world changing. What hospice workers do, day in and day out, is amazing. There are few who can do it well for an extended period of time. Those that can are national treasures.
If you ever find yourself surrounded by a group of hospice workers, you should spend a few minutes asking them about the toughest or scariest situations their job has put them in. You’ll hear stories about homes where there are literally holes in the floor. A decent percentage will have a story of having a gun pulled on them. Most all will have a story that will make you gag just listening. They will also tell you stories about some amazing people. They will tell you stories of true heroes, loving families, and funny situations. They will tell you that they have seen some of the greatest displays of love you could ever imagine and some of the greatest displays of hate. There is little routine about what they do every day.
Most of all, if you end up in the middle of a group of hospice workers, take a moment to tell them thank you. They have given their lives in many ways to the cause of caring. It is a hard job no matter how easy they make it look.
I love to say that they are the experts at the one thing that nobody wants to be an expert at. (Yes, I know that’s bad grammar.) Few can do what they do. Fewer want to do what they do. The fact that they do their jobs and do them so well demands our thanks. As I watch them, I am inspired at what the best of mankind can accomplish. I just wish there was a way for them to truly understand how great their gift to our world really is. All I can do today is to thank them and let them know that they are appreciated.