Advocate at Home
Advocate at Home provides compassionate medical care and services in the home setting—all in the comfort, safety and convenience of your own home. Advocate at Home also includes Advocate Hospice, focused on providing care and comfort for those who have chosen to change their plan of care from aggressive, curative medical treatment to managing pain and symptoms.
It’s a calling
When a family faces the death of a loved one, they want it to be a time of comfort and peace. They want to come together, to be able to accept the loss and celebrate this life.
For patients in the hospital who are receiving care from Advocate Hospice, these desires will be met with the help of a special brand of nurse, the hospice liaison. This is the person families can turn to for help in making sure their loved one is getting the best care possible. The liaison is a teacher, a compassionate listener, and a vital resource for Advocate Hospice in fulfilling its mission to make every day count for patients facing the end of life.
The recent experience of one family underscores the importance of a hospice liaison nurse. Advocate at Home/Advocate Hospice liaison Kimberly Lange, BSN, RN, CHPN, working at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, made a lasting impression on a family, and may have even inspired the patient’s grandson to pursue a career in hospice medicine.
Lange recalls that in this case, the very elderly patient had reached the end stage of his cardiac disease. But the family did not fully understand the situation. “He had always bounced back,” Lange said, “so they thought this would be no different.”
That’s when Lange got the call to talk to the family about admitting him to hospice care. As she started to explain hospice to them, she saw that the patient was having trouble breathing and appeared to be in pain and distress. She asked if she could be excused to call the doctor to get some medication to make him more comfortable. “She explained everything in a very professional yet comforting and no-nonsense manner,” the patient’s grandson wrote in a letter to Advocate Hospice.
“After 20 minutes, the patient relaxed, and his breathing rate lowered,” Lange said. “That made a huge difference not just to the patient but to the family as well.” He passed away peacefully a short time later.
Lange says she often feels like part of the family. “When somebody lets you into their lives at this time of crisis—and it’s always a crisis—it’s an honor,” she said. “This isn’t just a job for me. It’s a calling.”
In his letter, the grandson emphasized that he wanted to acknowledge Lange for the difference she made in the few short hours she was with his family, and also for a very personal reason. “I am a fourth-year medical student and my hospice rotation starts next semester. I confess I was dreading it. But after this experience, I am looking forward to it and to sharing my story,” the grandson wrote, and added that he saw the difference Lange made by easing his grandfather’s and his family’s suffering. “I asked her how she could do this every day and why she would choose to. She looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Because I can. Because I am blessed to be with families at this difficult and sacred time, and because I hope I make a little bit of a difference.’”