Demystifying Hospice Care in Central Wyoming
Susan Burke is the Community Liaison at Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions.
K2Radio News sat down with Burke to talk about hospice care and transitions on the Report to Wyoming podcast last month.
When her mother passed away unexpectedly in 2004, shortly after Christmas, she said "I had no idea where to turn, who to talk to, and how to begin to process this death."
There was a woman at her home church who knew a lot about hospice who was "the angel" for her family, said Burke. "She helped guide us through that and keep us stable."
Burke told K2Radio News she wanted to be that person, "who puts their hand on your arm and says, 'what do you need?' 'how can we help you?' what's the best way that I can walk this journey with you?'"
When an opportunity at Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions opened up she knew it was her calling.
The Central Wyoming hospice program has one of the highest censuses that she's ever seen.
She says it's not that more people are dying or need the help, it's because more people are seeking the help and know where they can turn.
"Hospice is not a place" says Burke.
When people hear hospice the first thing many think of is a place where people go to die.
"It's a philosophy of care, it's not a place.
Burke said 85% of their patients are out-patients in their own homes. The hospice homes are for a higher level of care.
They're called homes for a reason. "We purposefully build those homes so families can gather there."
The rooms are made to look homey, warm, and bright. There's a fireplace and play area for kiddos.
"Our mission is to companion the end of life journey with skill and compassion. We walk alongside them."