For Ruth Southards, RN, BSN, CHPN, working in hospice is the ultimate in nursing care. Southards, patient care coordinator for St. Anthonys Medical Centers Hospice program, recently helped celebrate the programs 10-year anniversary.
Founded in 1999, St. Anthonys Hospice provides emotional and spiritual support, as well as comfort, companionship, medication, and equipment. Social workers, pastoral care counselors, home health aides, volunteers and about a dozen nurses specially trained in end-of-life care regularly visit patients homes.St. Anthony’s Grotto
For patients who cannot stay in their homes or are without caregivers, St. Anthonys Fern and Russell F. de Greeff Hospice House, located on the hospital campus, offers a place to stay with 24-hour-assistance.
I was drawn to end-of-life care, says Southards, who helped start the hospice program. I found it extremely rewarding where I was able to help patients and their families at a time when they need it the most.St. Anthonys Hospice House
Although the hospice program began with about 30 patients, the numbers rapidly grew, Southards says. About 71 patients are seen daily in their homes, with about 16 in the Hospice House.
We didnt know how the hospice concept was going to be accepted in the culture at St. Anthonys, Southards says, but it took off very well and has been growing ever since.