Perspectives from a Hospice Intern

| By Jodi Horton

A year has gone by, and upon preparing for my departure from this beautiful organization, I find myself in a place of reflection and contemplation. What an amazing opportunity to have been with Casa de la Luz Hospice for an entire year. What wonderful knowledge I have gained from these social workers. And, what an honor and privilege it has been to be invited into the homes of complete strangers during the most intimate and precious moments of their lives.

Working with an organization that cares so much about its patients and families has been truly enlightening. During my internship, the words “comfort” and “dignity” defined my work. Casa de la Luz operated in such a way that they relied on those on the front line to bring in the perspective of the patient. That human component was never lost. And if a patient, family, or staff member ever had a need, the hospice was going to find a way to fill that need. From the very beginning, I knew that I had made a wise decision in choosing this organization as my home for the year.

During my time at Casa de la Luz, I had the great opportunity to shadow each of the social workers on their visits with some of the most incredible patients. The majority of my time was spent visiting patients in their homes or in adult care homes, where I learned just how far a person will go (related or not) to care for someone they love. This experience was truly amazing. In February, I spent a month at the Casa de la Luz Hospice Inpatient Unit, where staff went to great lengths to manage the most uncontrollable symptoms. They did this with great expertise and compassion. This, too, was inspirational. Each social worker I observed brought her own perspective, her own unique gifts and personalities. And, as a result of this experience, I have come to develop my own style as a social work intern.

It was during one of my very last home visits that a patient shed some more light on my experience as a hospice social work intern. He reminded me about just how much it means to some of these patients and families to be able to share their unique experience with interns like me. Over the past year, I have learned so much from my social work mentors and the other services I have observed, but it is really the perspective of the patients and families that brings a personal component to this work. It is a unique gift to be able to care for a loved one during their final days. It also takes a special person to be able to invite your family to care for you in your last moments. I will always cherish my time with patients and families; they have so much to offer me.

From my perspective, hospice is a beautiful service, treating individuals with the gentle kindness that they deserve at the end of life. Casa de la Luz has taught me so much, and I cannot wait to embrace the world of social work with open arms. I want to thank all of my social work mentors for an amazing and enriching experience, and all of my patients and families who opened their doors and their hearts to me. You taught me what it really means to love.

By Heather Roberts, Social Work Intern

Editor’s Note: For more information about hospice care in Tucson, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice at (520) 544-9890.

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