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Patricia Kennedy, RSM, Jill L. Snodgrass, Ph.D.

Self-Care for the Professional Hospice Staff

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The full-time staff in a hospice setting deals with loss, grief, death and dying on a daily basis. This experience duplicates itself week after week. Patients come, relationships are established, families are tended to, and patients die. Research suggests that professionals in this field of work are at risk for stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue. 

This paper is an attempt to respond to the staff needs for self-care in a hospice setting in order to lessen the impact of these dynamics and create a work atmosphere that promotes long term job satisfaction and employment.  A theological reflection process is engaged to develop an understanding of the spiritual, psychological, doctrinal, and social aspect that are relevant to this ministry and a program of self-care is proposed for the professional staff at the Tate Hospice House, of the Hospice of the Chesapeake, in Linthicum Maryland.

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