PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — John Robinson is an award-winning hospice nurse at Amedisys Hospice.
“Hospice is probably the ultimate nursing experience for a health care worker,” he says. “This is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week position whether you’re a nurse or an aide. I want to be synonymous with hospice. It’s giving of my heart to you.”
He shared what he does every day as KDKA Health Editor Dr. Maria Simbra rode along with him on his house calls.
“Your day can be an eight-hour day, it can be a 10-hour day. It’s all what the patient requires,” he says.
“Every visit, you do the blood pressures, you do the physical part and then you always open up the conversation to whatever a patient or a family member may need.”
He sees his patients two to three times a week. He points out that the hospice team — which is made up of nurses, home health aides, social workers, and chaplains — is not just for people about to die, but rather for people with life-limiting conditions.
He helps them with their physical and psychological needs.
“You get to pray with people, you get to listen to them, you get to hold their hand, you get to hug them. you get to become part of who they are, and they become part of who you are. And that’s exactly what hospice is.”
And he’s there to support the family, whether they are in the home with the patient, or far away.
“It’s a comfort knowing that he’s here and you can rely on him no matter what,” says Jackie Miglioretti, the daughter of a hospice patient in Daisytown.
He explains what to expect, so they aren’t alarmed when they see a change in their loved one as the end of life approaches. It keeps them calm, and keeps them from calling an ambulance in a panic.
“When you’re on hospice, you’re not perfect, but you still got problems, but they make it comfortable for me. That’s what it is – comfort. Without them I’d be uncomfortable,” says hospice patient Tyko Karanen.
“Give them comfort, show them a little bit compassion, trust, dignity, and if I do that, whether they’re alive for a week, or whether they’re alive for another year, I’ve done my job,” Robinson said.
“A year ago I gave up already, I was going to say, ‘I give up, let me go,’” Mr Karanen continues. “Now I say, ‘Fix me up!’”