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Here are the symptoms that indicate a potential trauma
Experts explain how and why
Past traumatic experiences can result in current physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms among hospice patients.
For example, a patient who once experienced sexual abuse as a child might be afraid of having the lights out in her room, or she might have trouble speaking with male health care practitioners.
Here are some of the symptoms hospice staff might encounter among patients who have experienced past and even forgotten trauma:
Whenever these or related symptoms are observed in a hospice patient, it's important to encourage the patient to tell his or her story, Vollmer and Baxter say. "Telling stories is an important part of what hospice does," Baxter says.
"In upwards of 50% of patients, we find that stories are important to the patient's dying process." It's also important for hospice staff to be offered support after listening to these often sad and disturbing stories.
"It's hard to hear those stories," Vollmer says. "When someone trusts us enough to give us their story, what do we do with it and what do we do to take care of ourselves?" Hospice workers need to support each other and acknowledge that hearing these life stories can be upsetting, Vollmer adds.
"It's not something they need to take home to keep them up at night," she adds. "It's important to have the gift of a hospice team and to rely upon our team members, as well as to know how to care for ourselves and to receive the support we need."