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Health Q&A

Posted December 26, 2012 in Advice Column

Q: What is spiritual care?

A: Spirituality is unique to every individual. It encompasses not only one’s religious orientation, but other connections to the universe as a whole, a person’s relationship with himself or herself and with other people.

HCI Hospice Care Services provides care at the end of life that addresses the needs of the mind, body and spirit. This means all patients and their loved ones receive care that respects individual spiritual values. A variety of persons may provide spiritual care, including family members, friends, members of a patient’s religious community and HCI Hospice Care Services’ staff members.  Our spiritual care counselors are part of every patient’s hospice care team. Patients and their loved ones can speak to a spiritual care counselor at any time. Spiritual care counselors provide non-judgmental, confidential support to patients, their caregivers, families and friends. They meet individuals where they are in their particular spiritual journeys.

Our spiritual care counselors understand the spiritual impact of serious illness on patients and their families and friends. Spiritual care counselors are ordained or endorsed clergy who are theologically and clinically trained. They are able to work with and provide assistance to people of all religious traditions, as well as with those who do not follow a specific tradition.

Spiritual care counselors also help patients and their families face fears of isolation, the unknown, death, afterlife, losing control, unmet responsibilities, divine judgment, loss of abilities, status or independence.  They also help patients address feelings of guilt with regard to past behaviors, and they assist them in finding peace of mind through forgiveness — for themselves or others.

Information provided by Terry Terrones, RN, MSN, CHPN, HCI Care Services of South-Central Iowa, 103 E. Van Buren St., Centerville, (641) 856-5502,

Q: My father had a stroke and no longer can use his left side like he used to. What is a stroke?

A: A stroke is also called a cerebrovascular accident or CVA. The result of a stroke is damage to a part of the brain due to a lack of blood delivering vital oxygen and nutrients to that part of the brain. A stroke can be due to a clot blocking blood flow or due to a bleed from a “broken” blood vessel in the brain.

Symptoms from a stroke range from severe paralysis to mild impairments. Common symptoms include loss of movement control on one side of the body (arm, leg or both), distorted sensation, vision problems and thought/cognition impairment. Rapid emergency treatment can limit the severity of a stroke.

Most stroke victims benefit from physical therapy. A rehabilitation program is specifically developed for the individual by the physical therapist.

Some simple warning signs for a stroke may include facial droop on one side (uneven smile), inability to raise or use one arm or leg or both, or an inability to speak clearly (sudden onset of slurred or incomprehensible speech). If the signs suddenly occur, call 911.

Information provided by Ray Tresemer, P.T., Tresemer Physical Therapy Inc., 612 E. Franklin St., Centerville, 641-856-2515.

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