We sat down with Suzanne Gwynn of local nonprofit Ladybug House to discuss some important and hard-to-talk-about issues: pediatric palliative care. This is an approach to improve the quality of end-of-life care for children.
Not familiar with Ladybug House? It’s a grassroots organization with the goal to build and operate a community-based Palliative Care Home for children and young adults with life-limiting illnesses – largely supported by public donations. Its mission is powerful: “If we cannot add days to the life of a child, we will add life to their days.” Suzanne’s vision and passion for creating this safe haven is inspiring, especially since it’s so difficult to talk about children dying.
And there’s a definite need for the home:
Suzanne shared that the US has over 150 times more animal hospice and palliative care facilities than child palliative homes. We want to do our part to help spread awareness about and donate to this incredibly worthwhile resource. Visit the Ladybug House website to help.
Talking with Suzanne made us think about how employers can support employees when they’re going through a difficult time. It comes down to work-life integration. If employees are unable to integrate all the demands they face with work AND life, they’ll burn out.
5 things employers can do to support employee hardship
1. Convey manager support through trust and communication
Managers can set the tone for employees during their hardship, so they need to establish trust and transparent two-way communication. Many employees are hesitant to vocalize their challenges, for fear it’ll work against them later in their careers. When managers show empathy and stand behind them 100%, employees are more engaged.
2. Encourage team support on the emotional side
Teams also play an important role, especially with emotional support. When people feel more supported when they can bring their personal life to work and share stories. When co-workers build solid relationships with one another, they’re more understanding when someone is struggling, and they’re more willing to take on extra responsibilities.
3. Offer remote options for work
If the hardship requires traveling for a few days, or weeks – consider remote working options. Employees can be present with their family members while away, yet remain engaged at the office.
4. Give flexible hours for employees
When employees feel they can set their own schedules, work feels less demanding. For one employee, this might look like a two-hour break in the middle of the day (and making this time up at night). Another employee might choose to come to work late and stay into the evening.
5. Provide incentives for everyone to have meaningful end-of-life plans/directives
We help clients help their employees (and their bottom line) by encouraging challenging family discussions. This is as simple as updating life insurance beneficiaries and sending home some discussion guides.
Let’s discuss topics like this without fear. The U.S. healthcare system, as great as it is in so many ways, is also broken. Frankly, there are still clear economic incentives (that contradict humanitarian incentives) to maximize end-of-life healthcare spending. Americans haven’t been able to create and maintain meaningful dialogue about end-of-life issues. But Limeade is happy to help you start.