Many caregivers such as home health aides are still caring for seniors and going inside patient’s homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has changed the way caregivers think about interacting and socializing with others.
Home health and visiting nurse agencies provide health care services in a home for an illness, injury, or chronic illness that needs monitoring. Throughout the pandemic, many people are questioning whether having someone else is their home is the right decision. For those who need skilled medical care, like feeding tubes or wound care, they may not have a choice. And staying on top of a chronic condition can help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, which bring their own increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a time of great change and uncertainty in our community, and has brought increased awareness of our own mortality. As Hebrew SeniorLife’s Clinical Director of Palliative Care, I see every day why it is important to discuss what medical care you wish to receive if you become seriously ill. Completing an advance directive is one thing we can all do to help us maintain autonomy in the midst of challenging circumstances.
For more than five years, Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care has been providing end-of-life care that honors the dignity, comfort, and spiritual well-being of our patients and families. Our multidisciplinary care team honors the diversity of Jewish sensibilities and spiritual perspectives around life and death while caring for patients of all faiths. As HSL Hospice Care goes into its sixth year, we took some time to reflect on the last five years of exceptional care across the Boston area during the most important time of life for our patients.
Volunteers are very important to providing the best quality of life possible for our long-term chronic care hospital (LTCH) patients at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC). From being a friendly visitor, to a wheelchair transporter, to a bingo caller or “meal mate,” volunteers have endless opportunities to make a patient’s life brighter. But there is another significant role for volunteers, one that can offer immeasurable support and comfort to our patients and their families—that of an end-of-life volunteer.
Hospice care provides comfort and improves quality of life for many patients, but it is still underutilized even though the Medicare hospice benefit has been available to qualified patients since the early 1980s.
Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care volunteer Bill Shulman comes from a family with deep roots in Boston’s Jewish Community and a connection to Hebrew SeniorLife that spans generations. I sat down with him recently to learn about his experience as a hospice volunteer.
JD: There are many volunteer opportunities in Boston. What motivated you to become an HSL Hospice Care volunteer?
Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care is uniquely skilled to meet the spiritual needs of all patients who come to us from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds. Because of a particular need from Boston’s Jewish community, we have taken on a special mission to meet the needs of this underserved community by providing a unique sensitivity to its varied religious and cultural needs at end of life.
Over the summer, the Boston Globe featured the incredible story of Rabbi Joel Baron, a retired publisher of two leading medical journals, who after becoming the oldest newly ordained rabbi in North America now serves as a chaplain with Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care. Growing up in Cleveland in the 1950s, Baron had considered becoming a rabbi but felt parental pressure to pursue a more practical path.