“Hospice is assisting a patient through a journey in life that we will all have to make and keeping the patient as comfortable and peaceful as possible,” Fritz said.
“(The final phase of life) is not an easy process for anyone. We’d like to try to make it as comfortable as possible for the family and the patient,” said Fritz, a former labor and delivery nurse.
She became a hospice nurse in 2008 after her uncle’s sister for whom he cared was in hospice. “(My uncle) just kept going on and on about how wonderful everybody was, how peaceful it made it for his sister, and it just really touched me so I decided to pursue a career in hospice,” said the east Cobb resident.
As a hospice nurse, Fritz regularly visits hospice patients in their home or nursing facility. During the visit, she completes an assessment of the patient’s pain and comfort level as well agitation level and adjusts medications if necessary. In addition, Fritz offers the patient and family her expertise.
“When the assessment is done, I sit there and act as a sounding board for (the patient and family) of the actual process of what’s going on. Many times people will ask me about what happens next, what do we look for,” Fritz said.
Most importantly, she creates a sincere connection with the patient and family often talking about their family life and children. “I try to develop a relationship with the patient so that they feel comfortable telling me things that you wouldn’t normally tell some people because we have some pretty invasive questions,” she said.
“I try to develop a relationship so that it doesn’t seem so invasive because we come into their home. Even though we are an invited guest, we are still somewhat of an invasion. People aren’t always comfortable with having someone come to their home,” the nurse of 18 years said.
Though her job is challenging, Fritz finds reward in helping others. “Overall the gifts of the families I have taken care of in terms of the love and the caring and the support has been bountiful to me. It’s added so much to me and so many people that I’ve met have touched my life in so many ways,” she said.
“The people who are making this journey, it’s a difficult journey. The appreciation of the families really makes me feel better because by helping that person I’ve made it more comfortable for everyone. That’s my goal,” Fritz said.
To learn more about WellStar Community Hospice, visit www.wellstar.org.