Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Matter of Death and Life - High School Students Take a Hospice Class

"After the experience of opening up and coming together, Kane begins the hands-on training needed for hospice care: positioning residents in bed to make them comfortable (as part of the hospice philosophy, they don’t call them patients); changing the bed while the resident is in it; sponge-bathing, showering, feeding, hydrating, and applying lotion to delicate skin.

At that point, the students begin to visit one of four hospice houses that have signed up for the program. Rochester has more two-bed hospice homes than any other city in the U.S. Under state law, hospice homes with only two beds are allowed to operate as homes, not hospitals. Add another bed and it becomes a legislated health-care facility, and the cost per bed jumps from $100,000 a year to $175,000 a year because of the need for full-time nursing staff. Two-bed hospice houses can run with one director, volunteers who come on two-person shifts from morning to night, a paid nursing assistant who stays overnight, and an on-call nurse who comes when needed, such as to confirm a death.

The students sign up for shifts—there’s no set number they need to fulfill, but some become so dedicated, they elect to put in hundreds of hours. At that point, the classes at school become a forum where the students can share and process their experiences.

As she prepares to graduate, Carolyn Rumrill, 18, says she has learned to see the big picture: “At this stage, we’re expected to figure out our lives— where we’ll go to school next year. You need to do well in extracurricular and academics, so it’s really self-centered right now. This course moves you away from that. It’s not all about you. There are many aspects to life, so don’t freak out about every little thing. I also feel like I’ve become more attuned to listening instead of speaking.”"

A Matter of Death and Life - Mindful:

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