Amanda Glaze has what many people would say is one of the toughest jobs imaginable. And yet… “I love it,” she says.
As a social worker with Angela Hospice’s My Nest is Best pediatric program, Amanda works with families facing some of life’s most difficult trials.
But every day, she’s able to see the difference the program makes, thanks to the support of Angela Hospice donors.
“I think donors giving money towards, you know, helping parents with funeral arrangements or helping parents with bills, that’s one less thing that mom and dad have to worry about. They can put their focus on just spending time with a child,” she said.
Amanda is also able to see the difference her care makes in their lives.
“I just love children – whether they are sick or not,” Amanda said. “I know people, they say, ‘You work with children who are dying?’ And, it is sad. But on the one sense, it’s rewarding to see mom and dad, where they’re scared, nervous, anxious about what’s going on, and then we come in and after an admission… I think just having the support, somebody they can call literally 24/7, is comforting to them.”
THERE’S SO MUCH LIFE IN THERE
That transformation is core to the care Angela Hospice is able to offer these families, including providing services in their own home, eliminating trips back and forth to the hospital. This means they can be with their families and siblings, living life as normally as possible. Amanda recalled two recent admissions she and pediatric physician Dr. Nadia Tremonti did, with children from families of ten.
“Dr. Tremonti made a comment, ‘There’s so much life in there,’” Amanda reflected. “You never would have gotten that at the hospital, even before COVID, with tubes and monitors and all that.”
In addition to Amanda’s visits, My Nest is Best patients receive in-home visits from their nurse and additional members of the hospice team, including Music Therapist Heather Dean, who will often work with the patient’s siblings as well, who sometimes may feel they don’t get as much attention as the child who’s sick.
The hospice team is there for the whole family, including grandparents and other relatives who may live out of state.
Whether family members talk to her, to friends and family, or to another counselor, Amanda said it’s important that they can talk to someone. For Amanda, when the situation gets tough, she can rely on her fellow social workers to help her through it.
“There are days where I’m like, ‘Okay, why? Why am I doing this?’ Because it’s a hard day. But there’s other days that I’m like, ‘This is exactly, exactly why…’ As much as it’s hard, the joys from it are just as rewarding.”
IF I HAD A MAGIC WAND…
“If I had a magic wand and I could stop cancer in children, I would. Nobody wants to see a child die. I can’t control that, but what I am able to control is sitting with a parent as they’re crying about how much they love their child, but they don’t want them to be in any pain; to know that they’re not alone; to hold a child while they’re imminently dying, because mom needs to go in the other room to do something, but she doesn’t want her child to not be with somebody. So those moments, yes, it’s scary, it’s sad. But there’s also joy and love in it, as well. So it’s something that I don’t want to run away from…
“It’s not comfortable… but it’s a parent’s reality. And if we can help them through it, I focus on what I can do now versus the things that I can’t.”
Dr. Nadia Tremonti discusses being a pediatric hospice physician.