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Teaching Each Other

At Hospice East Bay, we teach staff members to think of themselves first as educators. Most patients and families find themselves in new territory, faced with challenges for which they are unprepared. Most have no experience with facing loss, and many do not have paid caregivers or others to help. Our job involves preparing patients and families to handle whatever may come, increasing family members’ confidence by teaching them what they can do to help their loved ones.

Some people express surprise to learn that most patients served by Hospice East Bay live in their own homes. With teams covering all of Contra Costa County and portions of Alameda and Solano Counties, we understand that we enter not just houses but people’s homes and lives.

Working in homes means seeing patients and families as themselves, learning their preferences, their concerns, and their hopes. To best serve people, we need to learn who they are. We recognize that, while we might be experts on end-of-life care, each person is an expert on themselves. We are taught by patients and families as much as we teach them.

This emphasis on teaching each other requires us not to enter announcing what we can do for them, but instead enter with humility and a spirit of learning. We ask questions like:

  • “What is most important to you right now?
  • “What is getting in the way of you feeling good today?”
  • “How can we help you?”

When we know what patients want and need, we know better how to help each person meet their goals.

Marked by listening and curiosity, this individualized care serves as the foundation for our partnership with patients and their loved ones. The best quality care starts with finding out what quality of life means to each patient. The staff at Hospice East Bay prides themselves on going the extra mile and making sure each individual patient and family knows they are seen, they are heard, and that we are “here when you need us.”

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