On most Wednesday mornings, there’s a gathering in the Hope Hospice break room/kitchen area in Hope’s offices.
Carl Lathan, one of Hope Hospice’s Community Liaisons, meets around the kitchen table with a small group of students from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Carl provides them with basic information about hospice care.
“Hospice 101,” as he calls it, introduces these med students to a concept unfamiliar to many of them. Each week’s group includes individuals who are high achievers. They have completed their undergrad work and have competed to attain a spot in a leading medical school. They are among our nation’s best and brightest.
Yet, they know little about hospice. Even those students who do have a passing awareness of hospice care are generally unfamiliar with all the various aspects of hospice care. Carl makes sure they understand the main goals of hospice: ensuring patient comfort and controlling patient symptoms. He also mentions the work hospices do in addressing patient and family emotional and spiritual needs.
Carl Lathan has shared this “Hospice 101” with numerous groups of medical students, so he knows what is most important. However, should any area of his imparted insight remain unclear, he always makes sure there is time for questions.
Allowing the medical school students to learn at Hope Hospice headquarters, where they have the opportunity to sit in on the weekly staff meeting, means they have the chance to hear also from other hospice team members.
For some of these students, this visit with Carl may be the only exposure they will receive to hospice care until they become doctors. Giving these SLU School of Medicine students an opportunity to learn from a veteran hospice professional is something that we at Hope Hospice are proud to provide as a community service.
For information about hospice care in metro St. Louis, please call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.