September 6 2014

Meet the Shechen Hospice Nurses

A warm smile, a loving hand held to comfort, a keen eye for what is needed – these are the characteristics of our Shechen Hospice nurses.

The Shechen Hospice is located in a wing of the Shechen Clinic in Nepal. The concept of palliative care is new to Nepal and our hospice was one of the first. We provide end of life and acute care to patients regardless of ethnic group or gender, but particularly for the very destitute. All hospice services are offered at no fee for those in need. The hospice has five trained nurses who are under the medical direction of Dr. Ramesh.

Our hospice caregivers respond to our patients like daughters, sisters, and family, not just as nurses. Compassion, comfort, and love is the hallmark of our work,” explains Sanjeev Pradhan, director of the Shechen Medical Clinic and Hospice.

Sushila ASushila Rasaili, 32 years old mother, has worked in the Shechen Hospice since 2009. She studied and trained in Nepal and Dubai, and always had an interest in palliative care. She has a sparking smile, hearty laugh, and a very warm presence.

The work can be difficult as people come in great pain and distress. But as we ease their pain and provide loving care and a homey environment, it makes them calmer and more content. When they smile, it makes my day.

All ages come here, even children. We have an arrangement with the Kanti Children hospital that allows children who live far away to stay here while they get chemotherapy. The local hospitals send us dying patients and friends and family refer many patients to us. We have a long waiting list.

We are an oasis for the poor who need end of care life. We provide oxygen, pain medication, make them comfortable, and serve nourishing food, something that other private facilities in Nepal do not.  Families can visit at any time. More than 75% of the patients die, but many also recover because of the extensive care and attention given in our hospice facility.”

Sonam  Alone CSonam Dolma Rai Sherpa was one of our first hospice nurses. She is a 37 year-old mother of two.

“In the beginning most of the patients were suffering from emphysema and HIV Aids. Now we mainly have cancer patients, and people suffering from stroke and liver diseases. They need good nursing care, loving attention, and to be fed properly.

I was very fortunate to be sent to France to train for a month in a hospice in Rouen. I learned many practical methods and techniques like how to use morphine and other medicines more effectively and the benefit of music therapy. I used my experience to retrain our hospice nurses in these helpful tools.

When I returned to Nepal I was frustrated because we do not have all the modern technology to help our patients. However, in terms of holistic health care and a wonderful atmosphere, I feel that the Shechen Hospice is more than equal to what I saw in the West.

We talk a lot to the patients, and get to know them and their stories and their families. This creates a strong bond of trust and ease and our hospice feels like home to them.

As we are near Shechen Monastery and the Great Stupa, our patients find comfort in the peace of our quiet environment.”

Both nurses talked about working everyday with people who are dying:

“It is a mixed experience. Sometimes we feel sad, especially when young people die and we cannot cure them. But then we also feel fulfilled when our patients tell us that they feel more comfortable and peaceful. We can see it in their faces and these are immediate results that we rejoice in.

We are a functioning family: doctor, nurses, patients, and their families. The nurses form a close community and we emotionally support each other. We comfort each other when a patient passes and take a few days off when needed.”

It is truly inspiring to see these nurses relate to their patients and the patients’ response to the joyful love and care they are receiving.

Please help the work of the hospice continue by making a DONATION.