by Vickie S. Watson, Community Relations Specialist

Relief is a soothing word, is it not?  By definition, it means: 1) a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress; 2) assistance given to those in special need or difficulty; 3) a person or group of people replacing others who have been on duty.

I can tell you from a personal perspective the word “relief” is meaningful because I have recently experienced the first definition (above).  I submitted my very last college assignment a couple of weeks ago – the last one for the purposes of grading prior to my impending graduation.  I swear, when I hit that submit button, I think the heavens opened up and I heard the Hallelujah Chorus being sung by ten thousand angels.  I was literally overwhelmed with a sense of relief.

There was nothing like that feeling.  Relief came in knowing I had released all of the anxiety and distress I had been experiencing for my last semester in college.  Relief came in knowing EVERYTHING needed to graduate and earn my degree was submitted…finished…all done…no more.  It was a surreal moment.  It did not even seem possible that I had completed my internship.  It did not seem possible that I was going to graduate.  It did not seem possible I would be walking across a stage to receive my Bachelor’s Degree.  But it was possible.  I really was done.  The sense of relief was quickly followed by a sense of awe. As a matter of fact, I was overcome by emotion to the point that crying turned into sobbing – I mean an ugly cry that caused my shirt to be wet with tears.  I would say that was a pretty powerful sense of relief, wouldn’t you?

I know another powerful form of relief that comes in the essence of definitions 2 and 3 above.  Definition number 2 applies to our patients and their families and number 3 applies to caregivers needing respite.  I realize definition number 1 often applies to our patients/families/caregivers, as well, but numbers 2 and 3 really seem to hit the proverbial nail on the head.

Our ultimate goal at Shepherd’s Cove Hospice is to make patients and their families feel better, and that is where we turn back to the word “relief.”  We provide care and assistance to those in special need or difficulty – that is just a part of our ongoing care model.  But we also can be that “person or group of people replacing others who have been on duty” when it comes to providing respite care in our inpatient unit.  For example, speaking of graduations, suppose someone has a beloved family member under our care in their home, but they also have a son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter graduating from high school or college soon. They would not want to miss that treasured milestone.  What can they do?  How do they make sure their loved one is properly care for while also attending a graduation ceremony?  One great answer would be to bring the patient into our inpatient unit for respite care.

Respite care simply means “taking a break.”  Respite care is provided at the Shepherd’s Cove Hospice inpatient unit for a stay of up to 5 days at a time.  The inpatient unit can assist in providing a safe, comfortable environment for the patient.  If you are a caregiver and want desperately to attend an upcoming graduation, wedding, or other joyous occasion, respite care may be the best option.  If you need additional information, please give us a call at 256-891-7724.  Remember, we are available 24/7.