Emotional support and spiritual care are important parts of the services that VNSNY Hospice Care offers. The care we provide is holistic, which means that we treat the whole person. Supporting a person’s emotional well-being is as much a part of their care plan as treating physical symptoms of their disease.
VNSNY Hospice care teams include a social worker and a spiritual care counselor (SCC). Both are clinically trained to support people as they near the end of life. Your life matters, and the stories you are living matter. Your SCC and social worker listen without judgment to support you, and they will respect your values, beliefs, and cultural heritage.
Emotional support and spiritual care are available to all patients, as well as their families and caregivers, whether they are religious or not.
People living with a terminal illness face unknowns that can make them anxious or afraid. However, the end of life can also be a time of caring. Patients and their loved ones can come together. It can be a time to create meaningful moments and tell stories that honor life. It can be a time to find peace.
Emotional support and spiritual care from VNSNY Hospice focus on improving quality of life by:
As a person nears the end of their life, they often become more aware of what is truly important to them. They may need to make amends to loved ones, or they may want assurance that their loved ones will be all right after they’re gone. They may think about how they want to be remembered.
If you are a caregiver, or a family member or close friend, you may have questions or issues to work through, too. You may have to cope with overwhelming feelings while doing your best to take care of your loved one. You may be making difficult decisions, with or without family to support you.
If you are so busy taking care of your loved one’s needs, you may feel you can’t take a break. A social worker can assist you with arranging for respite care so that you can take some time for yourself. Social workers can also assist you with advance directives and with arranging support from other organizations (such as Meals on Wheels).
Social workers and spiritual care counselors can assist you with planning a funeral or memorial service (a SCC is available to officiate the service, if needed).
To ensure that you are treated with respect and dignity, all VNSNY staff members receive ongoing training. VNSNY Hospice Care works with the National Institute for Jewish Hospice, the Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care, and SAGE (the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to the health and well-being of LGBT older adults).
VNSNY Hospice has Level Five status with We Honor Veterans, recognizing our expertise in caring for veterans of all branches of the military. Veterans often have unique cultural and systemic barriers during end-of-life care. Liaisons in our Hospice Care for Veterans Program understand how military culture and experiences can affect a person. Liaisons are veterans themselves. They have the specific technical expertise to help address and overcome these barriers so that veterans and their loved ones can have a positive experience.
Our hospice volunteers make an important contribution to the care that we offer to patients and their families. Volunteers can provide companionship by visiting your loved one in person or calling them on the phone. Volunteers may read to your loved one or watch a favorite TV show with them—or simply listen to them and hold their hand. Some volunteers are able to give massages or bring pets for therapy visits. Volunteers can also help caregivers by updating extended family on a patient’s condition by setting up websites or making phone calls. And if family and friends are unavailable, our specially trained vigil volunteers can sit by the bedside of a dying patient during their last hours of life.