Sunday, April 08, 2001

Work a privilege for StarShine nurse

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Winter had its ups and downs for pediatric hospice nurse Lynda Tucker.

        Several children were able to “graduate” from StarShine, the hospice program at Children's Hospital Medical Center, meaning their medical condition had stabilized to the point they no longer needed the services of the hospice staff.

        But several children also died, a fact of life for professionals who work with terminally ill children.

[photo] Hospice nurse Lynda Tucker listens to Danny Breuer's heart at his Seven Mile home.
(Enquirer photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We lost five kids in about three weeks, and it was really very, very hard,” Mrs. Tucker, an Indian Hill resident, says.

        StarShine marked its fifth anniversary Friday Mrs. Tucker was one of the program's founding staff members.

        Enrollment is growing as more people become aware of the program. And StarShine has established a perinatal hospice program for families who know their infants won't survive birth or will die soon after.

        “We get quite a few referrals from our genetics counselors, as well as from other genetics counselors and other obstetricians,” Mrs. Tucker says.

        Through the perinatal program, hospice staff help families with a birthing and bereavement plan and are able to follow up with grief counseling and other support services.

        “Even though these babies don't live that long for these families, at least they were there,” Mrs. Tucker says.

        After five years with the StarShine program, Mrs. Tucker still can't think of anything else she'd rather do. It's a privilege, she says, to be allowed into the lives of the families she works with.

        “Everyone says, "Oh, it's so noble, noble, noble,' ” she says. “Well, it's really not so noble. Compared to some of the other fields in nursing now, you really get back a lot more than you give.”

       For information on StarShine, call 636-4663.


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