Voices of Care

Being a Hospice Aide: What it Takes. What It Gives

Posted on June 18, 2019 by Jeanne Puffer, CNA, Hospice Aide

Hospice Aide Jeanne Puffer helps a patient with various personal care services

To be a hospice aide, you have to really care about the patient. It also helps that, at Care Dimensions, we have the tools, the time and the education to do what we need to do to deliver great patient care. 

My job brings me lots of rewards and appreciation—from my patients, their caregivers, my clinical team members and manager.

Why and How I Became a Hospice Aide

As a child I had a lot of caretaking roles. I grew up in a North Shore town, where my parents provided foster care for many children with special needs. Also, one of my brothers had cystic fibrosis. During his many hospital stays, I witnessed how his nurses and caregivers treated him, and I knew I wanted a career in patient care.  After becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA), I worked in a nursing home where one of my colleagues was a Care Dimensions hospice aide. I asked her a lot about her job, and in 2007, I applied and started my role here.   

The Hospice Aide at Work

As a member of our clinical care team, I provide a range of personal care services, such as helping my patients with ambulation, meal preparation, hygiene and other supports. As hospice aides, we get to visit with the patient frequently, so when we notice any change in health status, we share it with other members of our clinical team.  When I’m assigned a new patient, the admission notes give me a sense of that individual’s primary diagnosis or situation. Then, I learn more during the first visit, when I ask questions and invest the time to establish the relationship. 

Small Gestures Make a Big Difference  

Many things can improve a patient’s quality of life. For example, I have had a few women patients with long hair. After their shower, I French braid their hair for them. Or I paint someone’s nails. Or we take a walk outside on a nice day.  Helping someone can be as simple as actively listening to his or her life story or current feelings.

Often, it’s these apparently small gestures that make a huge difference and that my patients and their families appreciate.

For me, there’s nothing like seeing that look of pure joy on a patient’s face.

Learn about careers with Care Dimensions: https://www.caredimensions.org/careers/

Sign up for our Careers e-newsletter:

About the Author: 

Jeanne Puffer, CNA, is a hospice aide with Care Dimensions. 

 

[ ]

Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.