Dr. Dodge is the Associate Medical Director at Hospice & Community Care. A fairly new addition to our Hospice family, Dr. Dodge shares some of his experiences as a member of our organization.
“It is truly enjoyable and gratifying to work in an environment where there is such teamwork. I have been here a short time, and I have been surprised at the scope of Hospice & Community Care. I was pleased to see how much teamwork, diligence, and interaction there is, and how many people are involved. For example, during morning report, every phone call that has been made since the place closed the day before is discussed. Several times a week we go through comprehensive reviews of all hospice patients with everyone involved, so each patient is covered by these reviews at least once a month,” said Dr. Dodge.
“I was astonished to learn the number of people served by Hospice & Community Care on a daily basis, how frequently they are seen by nurses, social workers, aides and all that. I did not realize the scope of that because, personally, my experience was limited to my mother-in-law who received hospice care in another state. While I heard wonderful things about hospice services, I did not realize the inner workings of that process. As part of my work, I see all the patients at the Hospice House. I believe this is the only Hospice in the county with its own inpatient facility, the rooms are very nice, and the nursing care that these patients receive is just outstanding. I just saw a patient this morning that I had seen about three weeks ago, and because of the quality nursing care they are receiving at the Hospice House, they are still here and still very comfortable.”
Dr. Dodge shared a little of his prior experiences. “The short of my story, I was an anesthesiologist who loved anesthesia. I was asked for the last 20 years when I was going to retire, and my response was always when I quit enjoying it and don’t feel like I am making a difference. While I was an anesthesiologist, two of the people I recruited actually left anesthesia and became doctors at Hospice & Community Care. That was beyond my scope of comprehension as to why they would do that because I loved anesthesia so much. When I quit fulltime anesthesia at the end of July 2016, I worked periodically at various places and still felt like I was enjoying myself and making a difference. Last fall, I reassessed, and I felt that I was no longer making a difference, I was not enjoying myself, and work was more stressful. So I told my wife that I was going to stop doing anesthesia, and in the back of my mind, I thought if the right opportunity came up, I would do it. God has a purpose for us all. It was by coincidence that I happened to see Jane Armstrong at an unrelated event, and she promptly asked me why I didn’t come to Hospice. I thought I should at least see her and talk to her about what was involved. And now, I am here.”
Dr. Dodge’s favorite part of his work is talking with people and trying to help. “Whether it is the nurses, social workers, patients, or patient families, I like the interaction and being free to express my feelings and doing what is best. During one of my first days here, Jane asked me to talk with a family outside one of the rooms in the Hospice House, so I walked in there. I never met the patient or the family, and there was obviously a lot of anguish in the room. I talked to the close family in the presence of a lot of extended family, and before I left, we prayed together. There was another case when I saw a patient one day and talked with the wife, and, when I went to see the patient two days later, the wife met me on my way to the bedside, and she gave me a hug that I thought would never end. These are two of my most memorable experiences so far.”