Caring for terminally ill residents is a gift.
Mercy Retirement & Care Center’s mission is to provide compassionate palliative care for residents with terminal diagnoses. We comfort residents and provide them dignity when they have a serious, incurable illness; when they’re nearing the end of their lives.
This is an incredibly important and sacred time. “We help residents enjoy the best quality of life possible and remain engaged in their surroundings, while helping them and their families recognize that their time may be drawing to a close,” says Sister Elizabeth Davis, SNJM, Director of Spiritual Care.
Mercy Retirement & Care Center’s nurses, social workers, chaplains, and other team members work together to preserve a resident’s comfort and dignity at all times—but especially during this time. That means:
Making Palliative Care Comfortable
When we think about comfort, we think beyond the medications provided to ease pain, agitation and other symptoms. When appropriate, staff also helps residents practice strategies like meditative breathing to ease symptoms. If someone has always enjoyed a particular type of music or a special aroma, staff members strive to provide those things that stimulate the senses, connect to memories, and bring joy.
Creating Peace of Mind
“Often the resident would like to live to 100, but that is not always possible. If residents are able to articulate what they’re feeling, that can be included in a conversation,” Sister Elizabeth says. “Or we reminisce about things that brought them joy. There’s a lot of just being present.” Chaplains are important members of the palliative care team, helping to address the spiritual needs of the residents and their loved ones, no matter one’s beliefs. They are always available to residents and loved ones, on hand to listen, support, and help facilitate important discussions.
Creating Family Centered Hospice
Families are welcome to stay beside their loved ones during this time, 24 hours a day. Our staff offers families as much privacy as possible but is readily available to answer questions about the end-of-life process and share techniques for offering comfort to their loved one. “We offer as much hospitality as we can, so families can receive comfort and recognize that this is a sacred time,” Sister Elizabeth says.
No matter how long a person has been ill or how old s/he is, facing the end of life can be very hard on both the resident and his or her loved ones. Palliative care creates a sacred space within which the resident is afforded dignity, care and comfort.