On this episode, we speak to Dean Fernandez, Executive Director at At Home Hospice. Topics discussed include:
– Dean’s connection and passion for hospice care, inspired by family experiences.
– The focus of hospice on living, and empowering patients and families to have control over their end-of-life experience.
– Touching and meaningful experiences in hospice care, including fulfilling patients’ last wishes and connecting with loved ones and pets.
– The importance of effective admissions, understanding patients’ goals and providing personalized care.
– Characteristics of the hospice team: compassionate, collaborative, mission-driven, patient-centric.
– Challenges in hospice care, including compliance issues and emotional impact.
– The evolving nature of healthcare and the constant need to adapt to changes and new opportunities.
– Dedication to a career in hospice and palliative care as a meaningful legacy for the community.
– Coping with the emotional challenges of working in end-of-life care and finding support from loved ones.
What made you decide to go into hospice care?
I actually loved healthcare, loved working in healthcare. But when I found my path to hospice, I realized what a special place it had in my heart. I realized that my family had been doing hospice for many, many years before hospice even existed.
What do you mean when you say hospice is empowering?
People think hospice is all about death. Hospice is actually around living every day leading up to death. It really empowers our patients and their families to have a little bit of control over their ending.
Has working in hospice affected your attitude toward death?
It really made me understand that the hospice mission is incredibly important. Because when you ask most people, they want to die at home. They want to die with people they love and they want to be comfortable.
How does the admissions experience affect the hospice experience?
I found when the admission goes well, the whole hospice experience tends to go well. But when the admission does not go well, it tends to have a lot of hiccups along the way. So I always root for a good admission process.
How do you interact with your team on a daily basis?
It’s important for me to keep my team empowered and busy doing the things they love. My job is to make sure that they have all the tools they need to be successful in their roles. So I keep my hands a little dirty. I like it that way.
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