The Paulding Progress recently did a ride along with Ashley Snyder, LPN, with CHP Home Care & Hospice of Paulding to see firsthand the work of a home health and hospice nurse. During this National Nurses Week, May 6-12, we honor all the nurses and their contributions to our communities.

By JERRY STANFORD Editor Paulding Progress

Anyone who’s watched over a family member with a terminal illness at the end has probably encountered a hospice nurse. The help these nurses bring is invaluable at a time when emotions are heavy and professional care people need to make this transition with dignity. Ashley Snyder is one of those nurses who exemplify the care these professionals have in their mission to help others.

“It’s not a job, it’s a privilege,” she says of her mission to help those at the end of life.

Compassion and comfort

Ashley prefers to kneel at their bedside with patients rather than stand over them. She communicates with the patient and their family to get a comprehensive look at the patient’s pain level.

Ashley’s manner is compassionate and touching to watch. Her respect for the patient’s comfort is plain. Anything she can do to lessen pain or discomfort is done, always communicating with patients and their families.

Ashley’s journey to this point began when her grandmother entered CHP hospice care in Defiance. She went from seeing hospice as giving up to the care those dying from illness need to keep their dignity.

Passion for hospice nursing

Initially, Ashley wanted to work for OSHA but touched by the care her grandmother received, she joined CHP as an aide. As predicted by a superior, she soon entered nursing school to become a hospice nurse herself.

“I’ve never been passionate about anything else. Hospice is where my heart is,” says Ashley of her career choice. “I want to give back through nursing.”

Ashley loves the one-on-one aspect of being a hospice nurse and building a rapport with the family. She believes the hospice experience is unique to each patient.

There are needs beyond the physical and it takes a team to care for a patient receiving hospice care. If the patient has needs that she can’t meet, Ashley will contact the right person, whether the needs are spiritual, emotional, or for the family.

Everyday hero

“My job is to be an advocate,“ says Ashley of her role in meeting all the patient’s needs.

This mission also extends to her work with Paulding County Co. Senior Center running the toenail clinic once a month. Caring for one’s toenails gets harder as they get older and it becomes harder to physically bend over and reach the feet. This helps give Ashley a further feeling of contribution.

Ashley chooses to work with CHP’s clients in Paulding County, despite living in Defiance. The people in Paulding are special to her and her mission is so important to the families. One family member even stated that Ashley’s visits were such a huge help in their mother’s care.

Ashley may be an everyday hero of Paulding County, but she represents everyone whose calling is helping those at the end of their lives, providing care and comfort.