Joann, 54, a hospice worker, has a serene demeanor that belies the sometimes depressing situations she finds herself in. Her primary goal is to help the person who is nearing death. At times this entails more emotional support than cognitive or physical assistance. Often the family and caregivers surrounding the patient are struggling with the finality of the situation and need more help than the patient. Joann's insight and caring make her an excellent hospice worker, but there have been a few occasions when she has needed emotional support herself. In a recent case of an elderly woman dying of Altzheimers Disease, Joann found herself being pulled into the depression and despair of the woman's family. She stayed until her death, but was concerned. Her work had never effected her this deeply, and she didn't know why she'd reacted as she did. She feared she might not be helpful–might even do harm--in a similar situation. She needed to talk with someone, but did not want to jeopardize her job.

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