sucks having standards and compassion

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Sucks having standards and compassion

(The following is an e-mail from a kindred soul in the hospice world. I have asked him to share more about his experiences, so you may hear from him again in the future. Administrator in Motor City, welcome to Hospice Blog, we hope to hear more from you soon!)

Sucks having standards and compassion, doesn’t it?

I’ve been a hospice chaplain and for the last fourteen years an administrator of a couple of hospice programs in Michigan.

In my current position with [company name] in the Detroit Metropolitan area I daily hear reports of “creaming” or “cherry-picking” going on. I end up on the receiving end of “dumping.” I’ve seen other agencies giving little attention to continuous care, and being (shall we say) careful about the potential for expensive interventions that might come up after admission to hospice. My response echoes the words of one of my late professors in seminary: “There is no ‘us’ or ‘them.’ There is only an ‘us.’ Whatever we decide is good for this mysterious group call ‘them’ is what I have decided ought to be good enough for all the rest of us including this little group called ‘me.’”

Every day we add one small brick to the building of our society. Every day in one small way or another we help to redefine important words like ‘hospice’. Hospice doesn’t seem to mean what it did, even 14 short years ago. Some of us would like to hang onto that old meaning. Some of us are not all jazzed up by profit, at the expense of what is right and moral and needed by those who are vulnerable. Some of us are aware that we should do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. The pragmatic afterthought for those not guided by the “right thing” should be to keep in mind that we are creating a new meaning for hospice and that in our day of need we will receive what we have given.

Administrator in Motor City



Do I hear an Amen for the chaplain?



Jerry Bartholomew

Economic pressure has a way of twisting everything. That seems especially abhorrent in the case of caring for the sick and dying. Pressures on the health care system will only increase. Add gas prices to the aging population and people like the good chaplain will become ever more rare. Keep up the good the fight–it isn’t going to get any easier.