Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shame in Hospice

Ron Panzer wrote a great article, entitled "Shame" for the Hospice Patients Alliance and it was so fitting for how hospice patients can experience shame. I am going to share the parts that were most reflective of the hospice experience...

"At any stage of life, shame has many faces.

If you've ever cared for the elderly, severely disabled or the chronically ill, as I have, you know the look, the unspoken shame. Shame at being naked before another who is not a lover, not a parent, not family. Shame at being other than what you once were. Shame at being unable to do the things you used to do or that others do. Shame at needing help to stand, needing help to sit, needing help to eat.

The strong young man with strapping muscles now stumbles to walk even one step. The beautiful woman's face becomes wrinkled with age...she wishes for the days gone by, when men could not take their eyes off her, when desire filled her heart.

Shame arises when a person feels they are "less." Less than what they once were, what they wanted to be, what they should be. Shame is felt when a person is treated as less than what they still are, a human being.

Shame flees from a caring heart, a gentle touch, a wiped tear, a cleansed body, a smile."

I felt like what he wrote about shame was very true. Hospice patients may feel shame, but their caregivers and family members may also feel it too. They may feel horrible for making the decision to put them in hospice, deciding to stop all treatments. Caregivers may feel shame because they may believe that enrolling them for hospice services may be "killing" their loved one. Adult children may feel shame in putting their parent in hospice at a nursing home or inpatient hospice facility because they do not have the time or resources to keep them at home.

1 comment:

newton juma said...

I believe the care given at Hospice helps drive away shame,Newton@ Kenyatta University School of Medicine