Monday, February 24, 2014

It's The Little Things

I have the privilege of interviewing patients and families willing to share their stories. I am continuously blown away by the stories patients and families share - things you don't find in a patient's chart or hear from the Arbor Hospice clinical team.

It's not the big things that stand out. It's the small things that make a world of difference.

They talk about how nice it is to be treated with compassion and with dignity. They compare a sterile hospital room to the home-like decor in The Residence of Arbor Hospice or to their own home.

More often than not, families express gratitude for the little things Arbor Hospice clinicians do - not always about pain and symptom management.

I've heard a husband express how grateful he was that his wife's chin stubble was trimmed like his wife trimmed it herself before she became too weak.

A mother recognizes the Arbor Hospice nurse for taking time to understand her non-communicative daughter's expressions and movements.

A son raves about how staff at The Residence of Arbor Hospice gave his father's favorite food - ice cream, in his final few weeks.

A wife talks about the comfort of knowing she can call at any time - day or night - and receive support.

It's these small things that make an impact on patients and families at the end of life - things we don't often think about.

I think this is true in all aspects of life - not just at the end of life.

I've recently created a "Gratitude List." Each night, I add things from the day that I am grateful for. While my list includes large things - my family, friends, health and safety - there are a lot of small things too. A smile, simple call, email or text just to say hello, note or someone saying "thank you" makes my list.

Knowing how much I value these things, I try to return the favor each day. I challenge you to go out of your way to do something extra - it doesn't have to be big. It's the simple things that matter.

Think about it - what has someone done for you that made such a big impact?

This blog post was written by Jaclyn Klein, Arbor Hospice Communications Specialists. You may contact her by commenting below or emailing her at


1 comment:

  1. What a great reminder, Jaclyn, about the importance of "little things," both in our own lives and that of others. As you note, it can be simple things like saying "hello" or sending an email to let others know you are thinking about them. And I really appreciate your reminder about the benefits of cultivating gratitude, which is also a practice that can take just a minute or two a day.