Caring in the Whirlwind
Article By | Craig Borchardt, PhD, President and CEO of Hospice Brazos Valley
Hospice Brazos Valley’s efforts to care for others never happen in a vacuum. We serve and care in the context of the daily events that occur in our communities and nation, as well as the personal events that shape the lives of our patients and their families. Hospice and palliative care are not only about prognosis and diagnosing chronic and terminal illness. Caring at the end-of-life is more than treatment strategies involving pain and symptom management. It’s about embracing the human experience and our place in it, both patient and hospice provider, in order to bring healing and hope.
These past months have been unprecedented. Life seems caught up in a whirlwind and we find ourselves contending with uncertainty and change. Part of the unprecedented nature of the new normal is the result of COVID-19. Caring for patients, friends, and family is vitally important. We continue to accept patients and find new ways to provide care in spite of the limitations resulting from the pandemic. Providing in-person care as much as possible, we’re using technology resources to deliver care and stay connected during this time of social distancing. Grief and bereavement support services have been moved to online and phone-based platforms. We remain committed to working with our partners, those who assist us with our care, to make sure that nothing in the new setting in which we work prevents us from providing the quality care that characterizes our service. Underlying it all is our dedicated resolve to alleviate fear and protect the safety of our patients and their families, as well as our staff and community partners.
Also contributing to all that swirls around us is the social unrest that has engulfed our society because of social and racial injustice. Anger, emotional pain, and sadness heighten already uncertain times. No one is untouched. Embracing dialog and peaceful actions that seek change to insure civil rights and justice is at the forefront of our shared humanity.
As we face the difficult challenge of determining how each of us can authentically join the dialog, I am mindful that the hospice model of care ensures that patients and families, regardless of race, class, vocation, or political persuasion, are respected, loved and receive compassionate, non-judgmental care. Care at the end-of-life deserves nothing less. Such a model can inform the essential dialog and peaceful actions that lie ahead. It can also inform efforts to offer special support to the African-American community and other people of color. Such support is not offered at the exclusion of anyone, but motivated by that which is the foundation of hospice care: love and concern for each individual.
Hospice Brazos Valley is committed to upholding the dignity of everyone we serve. We are willing to step into the whirlwind with the hope that people don’t have to wait until the end of their lives to experience dignity and compassion. Both should be realities for everyone, every day.
President and CEO