End of Life Care
There may come a time for some patients when doctors recommend comfort care only. At these times, families are often at a loss for words. It may seem that nothing can be done for their loved one. In fact, much can still be done:
To keep him or her comfortable and free of pain
To help loved ones say good-bye in a memorable and meaningful way
To express love and gratitude for the life of this person
While the medical staff keeps the patient comfortable and free of pain, the staff of Spiritual Care can help families find peace and create a meaningful way to say goodbye.
The following programs are designed to support the needs of dying patients and their families with compassion and respect for their individual dignity and worth.
- Hospice of Sacred Heart is a home-based program that addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs of the dying person and his or her family.
- Palliative Care addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs of the dying person and his or her family while the person is a patient at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
- Strings of Compassion is a service provided at a patient's bedside in which harp and voice are used in a dynamic or "prescriptive" manner to lovingly assist the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients facing a life-threatening illness, receiving comfort care or receiving hospice care.
- No One Dies Alone is a volunteer program at Sacred Heart that provides the reassuring presence of a volunteer companion to dying patients who would otherwise be alone.
- Continuation Quilts are handmade by volunteers. They are given to hospital patients at the point when the focus of care transitions from trying to cure the patient to trying to provide comfort through his or her final hours.
- The Handprint Project helps families of hospital patients come to terms with a sudden, unexpected death by providing a handprint and other mementoes from the patient.
- Grief Support is available from the staff of Pastoral Care, Medical Social Work, and Hospice and from support groups for adults and children.
- Baby Loss Memory Boxes are given to parents who experience the death of an infant. Pictures, mementoes including a lock of hair and a hospital name bracelet, baby’s vital statistics, and handmade baby blanket and clothes are placed in the box.
- Spiritual Care has chaplains to assist patients at all stages of life who are dealing with emotional and spiritual issues.