Both Kelli Doty and Mark Orr know without doubt that their jobs as home hospice nurses in hospice at Pella Regional Health Center are a good fit.
Kelli shares that she wanted to have an emotional connection with her patients. “That’s what it’s about for me,” said Kelli. “I want that relationship and bond with my patients and their family and being a hospice nurse allows for that. Plus, I’ve been on the other side with my grandma being in hospice. I can give back what I received and was important to me then.”
Mark agrees and goes on to say that he wanted to be at the patient’s bedside, chat with them and get to know them. He found that he wasn’t doing that the way he wanted as an ICU nurse. “Now I can make a difference with patients in my one-on-one care. I have more time with each one and they become special to me because I really get to know each of them,” said Mark.
End of life at Hospice of Pella is focused on specialized symptom management and providing for emotional and spiritual needs that arise during the dying process. Staff emphasizes quality of life for patients and their families.
“For me, death has always been a scary or uncertain issue as a nurse in other roles I’ve worked in,” said Kelli. “It’s surprised me, that at the end of the life journey, how calming and peaceful it is. It’s not scary or traumatic. It’s a part of life and everyone is eventually going to go through it. It’s a peaceful feeling.”
Mark and Kelli explain that for families, there is a lot of education about what to expect, especially physically. This is particularly true when it comes to the signs and symptoms of the dying process-explaining that their loved one may stop talking, stop eating, withdrawing. They share that the family members come to realize what is really important at the end, not getting the person to eat, but being there with them. Most of their visits involve listening to the patient’s loved ones and becoming part of the family’s support system.
Kelli goes on to say, “I know people think of death right away when they think of hospice. And we do deal with dying. But it’s really about living and making those days the best possible. Being able to celebrate a moment in time and making that moment the best and most fulfilling it can be.”
“Hospice is about living until the last breath,” agrees Mark. “People sometimes say that we help patients die. We actually help people live as long and as comfortably as they can until they die.”.