I never thought I would love to work with dying people. It just sounded too morbid. Our American culture does just about everything it can to prevent the inevitable; we rarely discuss our funeral services or burial wishes openly. We are not likely to make a will or advanced directives. So the thought of working with the dying just didn’t sound all that appealing to me … at first. But then I’ve realized that my work supports their last wishes while putting patients’ and their family members’ minds at ease.
Let me explain…I’m Stacy Gleaton. I am a social worker at a Clovis hospice. I primarily see patients who have a terminal illness with an estimated six months or less to live.
I get to work with an amazing team of nurses, aides, therapists, doctors, patients and families, volunteers and other team members. As a collective group of caregivers working alongside one another, we are able to reach out to our patients and their families and provide the palliative medical care that they need through compassionate, tender care. We also provide many non-medical services to support our patients as well.
I am often assisting our patients and their families with various tasks. Helping them apply for Medicaid, disability, food stamps, and home weatherization are some examples. Sometimes a volunteer is needed to give the patient’s caregiver a break, so I coordinate that request. I also have the pleasure of speaking to Clovis’ civic groups and in some educational institutes about advanced directives, living wills and volunteer opportunities to name a few.
The many thank you notes we receive reinforce what we see firsthand, the positive impact we make on the lives of those that we serve. At the same time, we bring comfort to the families of the hospice patient as they go through this normal life event called death. It just doesn’t get any better than that, folks.