Social Worker

March – National Social Work Month

This March is Social Work Month. But although many of us know what social workers do, there is one small niche of social work that often gets overlooked: the field of hospice. In honor of Social Work Month’s theme this…

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Barbara Karnes: Closure with Dad at End of Life

Dear Barbara, My father and I have always had a difficult relationship. He is now approaching death. What do I do? There is no perfect relationship. Life is a series of easy and difficult  experiences. Some relationship are just more…

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Are They Overmedicating Mom? asks Barbara Karnes

I received the following comment on my Blog. “They are overmedicating Mom” (The family said of hospice professionals). “Following a brief rally, she slept most of the time and died within a week.” Her sons concluded she was being overmedicated…

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Bereavement with Death of a Child, by Barbara Karnes

Dear Barbara, Three years ago my child died.  Why can’t I move on? It seems I am stuck in pain all the time. I can’t think of any loss greater than the loss of a child, although I’ve had people disagree with…

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Dementia Doesn’t Play By The Rules

QUESTION: My question is about when someone with advanced dementia is in that sort of vague pre-active dying period, say those months in and out of the hospital, the time when the PEG (artificial feeding) conversation starts to happen. So…

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Negativity Towards Caregivers

How do you handle feelings of anger, fear that is being projected onto the caregiver by the patient? It is hard to be caring for someone (which is generally a challenging task at its best) and have that person be…

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Hurrying Over “The Talk”

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news.  Americans are a death denying society. We view death as the enemy and a failure: something to be feared and avoided. Like ostriches we hide our head in the sand…

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Thoughts on Assisted Suicide

The term “assisted suicide” carries a couple of meanings. It can refer to the laws that Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana have enacted which  allow people with a terminal illness to apply to a medical program and, if approved, be…

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When The Odds Are Not With Us

Generally speaking, a person goes to a physician because something is amiss with their physical body. We don’t feel well so we go to doctors for help. Physicians “fix” what ails us. That is their job. We expect to receive…

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Can I Work With Those of Other Faiths?

QUESTION: I am a Hospice Nurse for 3+ years but have been a nurse for over 35 years with varying experiences with death and dying prior to my present Hospice experience. I am a Christian and have some difficulty working…

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