Thursday, October 5, 2017
Impactful Relationships and Hospice
Have you ever thought about how the relationships in your life have affected you? Maybe some meant more than others; or some left an impression that stuck with you…
With growing technological advances, relationships in healthcare can exist among providers and patients without ever setting foot in the same room. Relationships in healthcare have long been viewed as a critical factor to the quality of care provided and nowhere has this been more evident than in the hospice community. The wider medical community is learning that relationships have the ability to affect a person’s physical health along with emotional health. There are plenty of studies that suggest being alone at the end-of-life increases mortality among older adults. There is data measuring quality in relationships and the affect it has on heart health. These results matter. If there were ever a time to have quality relationships, ones where you and your family felt heard and supported, wouldn’t you want it to be at a time like the end of your life?
For more than four decades, hospice and palliative care interdisciplinary teams have fostered deep relationships with the patients and families they care for, and now this understanding is growing to the broader medical community. As developed by Dame Cicely Saunders fifty years ago and outlined in the Medicare hospice benefit for 35 years, the team approach to care for dying persons includes a physician, nurse, home health aide, social worker, spiritual care providers, allied therapists, bereavement counselors and volunteers. Hospice has shown how members of the interdisciplinary team work together to care for a patient and provide support to the patient’s family that continues even after their loved one has died. The IDT approach allows these relationships to be built with the patient and family in their home, hospital or care facility. With a desire to explore just how unique and meaningful these relationships can be, NHPCO directed the annual creative arts contest with relationships in mind.
Guided by only a theme – “Impactful Relationships: The Interactions of Hospice and Palliative Care,” members of hospice and palliative care interdisciplinary teams from all over the US sent in over 70 submissions consisting of photos, blogs and poems. These ‘works of art’ tell a story. They are inspirational and offer an opportunity to explore the lives of people working in hospice, the work they do, and the patients that are near the end of their lives. We invite you take a peek at the winning submissions for “NHPCO’s 2017 Creative Arts Contest” and explore for yourself the ‘impactful relationships’ that exist within hospice and palliative care.