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Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2019

This and every October, Philadelphia recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence can affect anyone — regardless of your class, race, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Domestic Violence is more than just physical abuse — it is a pattern of behaviors that a partner uses against the other person with the purpose of gaining and maintaining power and control in the relationship. These behaviors can include: isolation, financial deprivation, stalking, emotional abuse, and threats to harm partner, children or pets. Are you thinking about making a change within your relationship? Does your partner make you feel unsafe? Is your partner restricting your access to family, friends and financial resources? According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, these are all common indicators of abuse. If you have answered "yes" to at least one of the questions listed above, there are resources readily available to you in Philadelphia. Always…

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Compassion Fatigue When Caring for Dying Patients

by Jennifer Forik, MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC When I am asked what I do for a living, I enthusiastically and proudly say, “I’m a palliative care nurse practitioner!” Unfortunately, I usually do not receive the same upbeat response. I usually am told, “Oh wow, that’s a tough job” or, “Oh, so you care for people at the end of life?” Yes! Isn’t that amazing?   Palliative care is a type of medical care that helps with symptom management from chronic illnesses, and guides discussions around goals of care with patients. This type of decision-making allows the patients to decide on how they would like to proceed with their medical treatment. Sometimes patients decide that hospice care is the best option for them (Hospice care focuses on the comfort of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, while to their emotional and spiritual needs).  So, how hard is…

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How to Talk to a Suicide Loss Survivor

Talking to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide is challenging to say the least. It presents challenges beyond the discomfort we commonly feel in the presence of grief. Despite our hearts being in the right place, the eagerness to comfort someone may mistakenly cause us to say something hurtful. The fear of compounding the loss survivor’s pain by saying the wrong thing may cause us to avoid those who are grieving. Let them know about the Suicide Loss Support Groups that happen throughout the month in our area. And below are some tips from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on navigating conversations with suicide loss survivors in a kind, thoughtful, and responsible way: “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.” Suicide loss is complicated, devastating, dumbfounding. There are no easy answers and no easy fixes. Be a patient, nonjudgmental listener. Be a…

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