Hospice & Community Care’s more than 400 employees go above and beyond each day for our patients and families. All of our team members, regardless of their roles and disciplines, make a significant impact in the lives of our patients and their families, and we are shining a spotlight on them. In each edition of Hospice Horizons, you will get to meet a team member who is living out our mission.
Her experience with end-of-life care started at a young age when two of her friends passed away before the age of 12 – each being served by then Hospice of Lancaster County. This was the start of her interest in pursuing a career in nursing. But, it didn’t stop there for Hospice & Community Care Access Team member Hannah Garland.
“When I was a junior in high school, I participated in a Nurse-to-Nurse program that Lancaster Regional Medical Center piloted where they had high school students shadow an RN in an attempt to encourage them to consider nursing,” shared Hannah. Well, it worked. Hannah became an emergency room nurse. “I saw a lot of ‘bad’ deaths working in the ER – deaths that were prolonged with aggressive, invasive interventions, and I always felt that there should be another way.”
In 2016, Hannah took her experience and desire to help others facing end of life and began her career at Hospice & Community Care. Hannah, an RN BSN, is an Access Nurse. She assesses patients’ readiness for end-of-life care and discusses Hospice care with them and their families. She reviews medical records, researches and investigates patients’ symptoms and prognosis to create a cohesive narrative of why they could benefit from hospice services.
Especially in the hospital setting, patients and families are very anxious and stressed. Hannah shared that when she has an opportunity to explain hospice care to families and how Hospice & Community Care will help to enhance their quality of life, their stress level diminishes and completely melts away – something that she finds very rewarding.
“I enjoy educating people on what hospice care truly is and how it can help,” commented Hannah. “There are so many misconceptions. If I had a dollar for every time I heard from families, ‘If she is in hospice care they will just give her morphine until she dies’ or ‘Hospice won’t let you take your regular medications,’ I could retire early.” All of these are myths that Hannah is quick to disprove to patients and families.
When asked what has been one of her most memorable experiences working at Hospice & Community Care, Hannah said that she has many. But, what stands out the most? Surprisingly, her rough weeks.
“There was a week where I admitted multiple 30-something-year-old patients in only five days to Hospice care,” explained Hannah. “There were so many grieving young children, shell-shocked parents and spouses struggling to still work to keep their insurance. It was very hard. But, I got through it knowing that my colleagues were following up after me and would provide strong social work and bereavement support.”
“I really appreciate Hospice & Community Care’s collaborative atmosphere and teamwork to care for patients,” shared Hannah. “It’s challenging sometimes, but there is nothing else I’d rather do with such truly amazing coworkers.”