Leading with empathy

Employees Patients

After starting his nursing career in an acute care hospital, Jared Moore’s calling to work in hospice care was crystal clear. After watching patients endure what he called the “torture chamber” in an acute care setting, rather than appropriate end of life hospice care, he made the jump to join Encompass Health Home Health and Hospice.

Now with the Company for three years, every day is an exercise in leading with empathy, meeting a patient where they are and identifying their mental and emotional needs during end of life care, Jared said. Often, those needs can be met by jest, laughter and reassurance. Jared Moore

“Sometimes they express feelings of frustration that they can’t get up and they can’t move to do the things they want to,” Jared said. “I like to tease and joke with them, and I often go back to dancing. I have literally set appointments with many of them and said, ‘Okay, we’ve got a deal. I’m dancing with you as soon as you get your legs back.’ I have lots of dance partners that are waiting for me in Heaven, and I know we’ll have a big party one of these days.”

Each patient and their families have their own needs as they work through what is the most difficult time in their lives, and by empathizing with those needs, Jared, said, he hopes to make that time just a little bit easier.

“Some of the things we don’t think about are the hardest, like losing the ability to get up and get a drink of water, or to go out and have a little bit of fun like they used to,” he said. “Those are some of the hardest things they’re going through, so I try to have fun with them and remind them, for those that have that belief or faith, there will be a day. That’s helpful for them.”

Many families he sees have little experience in what they are going to experience as their loved one approaches the end of their life, Jared said, and for those families, simply listening, understanding and walking them through the coming days takes a world of weight off their shoulders. Even better, though, is assurance that their loved one feels at peace and well cared for during their final days.

“I had a patient that just passed away, and she was really special; she was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met, and she’s dealt with disability her whole life,” Jared said. “She loved to joke and to be teased, so I did that up until the last day of her life. Before she passed, she told her mom, ‘You know, I think Jared loves me.’ I am so glad she felt that way, because otherwise, there’s not any point in doing this.”