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National Hospice and Palliative Care Month Spotlight

In recognition of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Graceland/Fairlawn Funeral Home, Crematory and Cemetery wishes to acknowledge Jan Dial, Pastoral / Grief Care of DMH Home Health & Hospice for her accomplishments in hospice & palliative care.

Jan Dial of DMH Home Health & Hospice

Jan Dial has worked in the hospice profession for 9 years. She originally was intrigued to work in hospice and palliative care due to her love for the elderly and a desire to show them compassion in their time of need. She highly respected professionals who worked in Hospice and Home care. She knew they had a genuine love of healthcare and a heart for their patience.

What are some of the powerful emotions you have gone through?

Compassion is a double edged sword as I feel the deep pain and suffering of the families in the loss of their loved one.

I grieve as I watch a patient lose their independence as they forfeit control of every area of their lives and trying desperately to help them maintain their dignity.

I feel a deep respect for my patients as I listen to their life stories. The Bombardier who flew the first successful mission over Tokyo in WWII. The sailor whose ship was hit and sank in "Iron Bottom Bay" in the South Pacific. The sailor was one of the few who swam to shore and survived the terror and torture tactics of the Japanese on the island in WWII. The story of the army soldier that marched under the direction of General George Patton in Germany. This soldier was driving a tank truck alone loaded w/ fuel when he heard a voice very clearly tell him to get out of the truck and into the ditch.  The soldier heeded the voice and after jumping from the truck, it was hit by a missile and exploded into flames.

Deep sadness as I watch a patient left to die alone with no family around.

What are some things you do to take care of yourself emotionally so that you can continue to help others in your profession?

First, I pray before, during and after my work day. I must depend on my faith in God to supply all my needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I am keenly aware that I cannot do this job on my own strength. I purposely keep my own cup filled, so that I can continue to pour into others. I have a few friends with whom I am able to talk with to process my own losses. I try to maintain a proper diet, drink adequate water, stay active and love my family like there's no tomorrow.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

To not become attached to my patients. I gave up on that.

What do you believe has been your key to having great relationships with your patients?

1. Listening to the patient and discovering what their needs are.

2. Being real and transparent.

3. Finding common ground where I can meet and talk with the patient to build rapport and trust with the patient.

4. Honestly loving them.

How do you motivate yourself?

I don't motivate myself. My patients do that for me.

Looking back on the first person in your care, how would you say you have evolved from that moment and in which ways?

This is a great question! I have learned to listen far more than I talk. I have learned healthy boundaries for my profession. I have learned that I cannot carry the burden of my patients and families alone. I must hand them to the Lord at the end of each visit and ask Him to care for them from that point until I return for my next visit.... And then, trust the Lord to do it. I have learned that I am not a fortress, I am not indispensable, I am not an island. I work in tandem with a wonderful team of professionals with whom I partner to provide comfort and support for our patients. A vital part of my job is offering my team emotional / spiritual support as well as my patients.

What advice would you give someone who is considering hospice service in the near or far future?

Make sure your motives for working in Hospice are pure and not self-serving, but that you are in Hospice to care for your patients and give to them, not to receive.  Set and maintain definite professional boundaries. This is not the profession to be in to "collect a paycheck", to bolster your self-esteem, to find love and appreciation and strokes for your ego, or to work through your own grief. You are privileged to step into a family's life at a most critical time. It is a sacred and precious time that bonds the family and the caregiver. Never take that for granted. This is one of the hardest jobs you will ever love, and it may well be the most rewarding.


For more information on DMH Home Health & Hospice:

2300 N. Edward Street
Decatur, Illinois 62526
(217) 876-8121

Jan Dial, Pastoral / Grief Care
Email: jdial@dmhhs.org

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