a young hospice nurse makes a promise to her dying patients

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Emily Gagnon is a hospice nurse. She lives in Waterdown, Ontario. Her Facebook post to mark the end of National Nurses’ Week 2020 brought me to tears:

“As we wrap up National Nurses Week 2020, I’d like to share a little bit about what I do as a hospice nurse. For those of you who are not familiar, hospice is a facility where people come to live out the remainder of their days. Many of the residents that I care for have a terminal and/or life limiting illness with limited time left to live.

What I love most about hospice is watching the residents and their families surrender all of the burden they carry and make the best of the time that they have left. In my three years of practice, I’ve witnessed miracles, tragedies, beauty, pain and everything in between. Residents and their families put all of their trust in us to ensure their wishes are fulfilled and their dignity is maintained.

I am honoured to care for, help and serve the residents that come to our hospice. End of life care is my biggest passion, one that I hold so close to my heart.

I will sit with you and hold your hand.

I will brush the hair from your brow.

I will do my best to explain why this is happening.

I will tell you that it’s going to be alright.

I will comfort your family as you transition.

I will tell you when there are weeks and not months, days and not weeks, hours and not days.

I will be there for you till the very end and beyond, this is my promise.

Thank you Emily and your fellow hospice nurses. Thank you nurses everywhere.

3 wise thoughts on being with someone you love as they die, which also apply to being with someone with dementia as they live

3 things to know when you can’t be with someone you love as they are dying

understanding the suffering associated with dying

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JM