Although it is not always discussed, mental health is equally as important as physical health. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month we would like to highlight the importance of focusing on our mental wellbeing, particularly in hospice.
For the Patient
The goal of hospice is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible through end-of-life care, including caring for their mental health. There are many factors that can impact a patient’s mental wellbeing. Fear of death can have a huge impact on your mental health as a hospice patient. Whether it be a long-known fear or a fear you just discovered, it can be difficult to come to terms with. Our team is here to support you in any way we can. We have ordained ministers on our Pastoral Care Team who are available to discuss any spiritual concerns you may have. Our Social Workers are here to help you and your family sort through things such as financial concern, unresolved conflict with family members, and so much more. We also have volunteers who can sit and talk with you, read to you, or even just sit with you and hold your hand. And we hope you find peace of mind in knowing our Bereavement Counselors are here – and will continue to be here – for your loved ones as they grieve.
For the Family/Caregiver
It is not easy to be a family member/caregiver of a hospice patient. You are faced with knowing you will soon have to say goodbye to someone you care so deeply about. It also forces questions that feel impossible to answer upon you. How will we go on without them? What will life be like now? It can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. You are stressed while trying to keep up with work, responsibilities at home, and caring for your loved one. You also have concerns of how you will pay for arrangements for a funeral service, burial, and so much more. Add to that the stress of getting your loved one’s affairs in order. There is so much that goes into it, and it would be stressful to manage on its own. But you are faced with dealing with all of this stress on top of grieving. It is enough to make anyone feel lost and overwhelmed. But we want you to know that the Grane Hospice Team is here for you through it all. Our dedicated team of Nurses, Aides, Social Workers, Chaplains, and Bereavement Counselors are available 24/7 to help you through it all.
For the Healthcare Professional
As a healthcare professional in hospice, you are faced with death every day. You witness all of the stresses and fears of the patient and their family, and it can be difficult to leave it all at work. Sometimes what you witness goes home with you at the end of the day, and you just can’t shake it. This does not make you weak, it makes you human. But it can weigh on your mental health. Some days may be more challenging than others, and it is important to have someone you can talk to about the tougher days. This can be in the form of a co-worker who knows exactly what you are going through, or it can be in the form of a mental health professional, such as a psychologist. And Grane Hospice is here to support our employees. Our Employee Assistance Program is a wonderful resource that is available to you. If you are a team member at Grane Hospice and want more information on the EAP, please reach out to your HR representative.
For a long time, there was a negative stigma tied to discussing mental health or seeing a therapist. However, people are becoming more and more open to and accepting of the idea. Many celebrities now advocate for mental health and openly discuss their own experiences in seeing a therapist and how much it has helped them. There is no shame in needing to talk to someone about the things you are going through.
We all have our own struggles we are facing, and no one should ever have to face them alone. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a wonderful resource for anyone who needs support.
So whether you are a hospice patient, a family member/caregiver, or a healthcare professional – or to anyone out there who is reading this – just always remember, you are not alone.