TV premiere: June 8, 3.30pm, Das Erste
Seven years ago Anne Bode founded the palliative care service “Lebensbaum” in Freiburg, which the HMO's Medical Service certified as “very good”. Bode and her colleagues specialize in caring for terminally ill patients in their own homes, to save them from hospitalization or being placed in nursing facilities. “My passion is to accompany people in the process of dying,” says the nurse. Many of her patients have undergone extensive therapy, but now the time has come to insure they are free of pain and to prepare them in the coming weeks and months for a comparatively peaceful departure. Working closely with their family doctor or oncologist, Bode and her colleagues administer pain medication to the patients at home and organize necessary aids such as hospital beds or toilet chairs. Sometimes they also do some shopping and are on call anytime of the day or night.
Anne is convinced that many more people could die at home if everyone would cooperate and if more people would familiarize themselves with palliative care. A few years ago she saw with her grandfather “how nice death can be.” Since then this has become her focus. She and her five colleagues have completed extra training in palliative care. “It's not a job, but more of an attitude,” says Anne. The only tabu she knows is black or white clothing. They should neither dress as if in grief nor as hospital personnel when they visit their patients. The phone numbers of palliative doctors, hospice service, and hospitals are always with her to check in with or, in an emergency, to refer her patients. Anne feels, “every person has a right to their own death. This right should not be clipped. You feel when someone wants to go.”
Anne’s work is extremely demanding, including on her soul. For daily relaxation she rides her horse or takes her dog for a walk. How does she manage confronting death, what would she like for herself, how does she stand the permanent time pressure as someone who is not running a charitable enterprise? Over a couple of months we accompanied Anne pursuing her profession.