Resources | Chapel of the Chimes Oakland


Kaiser Oakland Hospice 

In recognition of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Chapel of the Chimes Oakland wishes to acknowledge, Baika Pratt-Heaton, Volunteer Services Manager of Kaiser Oakland Hospice for her accomplishments in hospice & palliative care.

Interview With Baika Pratt-Heaton

Baika has worked in the hospice profession for 18 years.

What intrigued you to work in this field?

It seemed to me, when loved ones become gravely ill, those of us involved in care, and the person we care for, become our deeper selves, our more real selves-- allowing an opportunity for developing compassion and more honest connections with each other.

What are some of the powerful emotions you have gone through? What are some things you do to take care of yourself emotionally so that you can continue to help others in your profession?

I've experienced an array of emotions, from great sorrow to elation, including rage. I walk regularly outdoors, getting fresh air. I do yoga, meditation and prayer, spiritual readings, plenty of sleep and eat well, drink plenty of water. Use caffeine in moderation. I check in regularly with spiritual director and colleagues.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge is staying present for challenging family dynamics. It takes personal strength and awareness and a well-developed sense of self to be present for all concerns that appear, to stay respectful and compassionate, to see clearly through my feelings and projection of them, and refrain from forming any judgments at all. I start fresh with each family and don't allow past experiences to cloud my present experience.

What do you believe has been your key to having great relationships with your patients?

Listening deeply.

How do you motivate yourself?

I enjoy a life of service. I enjoy this work. I'm motivated by the needs of others to do this work.

Looking back on the first person in your care, how would you say you have evolved from that moment and in which ways?

I'm more relaxed in home and skilled nursing settings. I understand better the needs of our families during the dying process and the grief process. I understand the dying process and the grief process much more.

What advice would you give someone who is considering hospice service in the near or far future?

Hospice is about life. Hospice can help you to discover what it is you're needing at this time of your life and help you to fulfill your need. It can be a very meaningful time for you and your family. We keep you as comfortable as possible, so you can accomplish whatever it is you need to do. Hospice can help you to navigate the work of advanced directives, mortuary and funeral planning, legacy work, even DMV disabled placards. These kinds of things take time and energy. It’s best to come on to Hospice before you're in crisis. If you have been given a prognosis of six months, it's a good time to make this call. 

For more information on Kaiser Oakland Hospice

4501 Broadway, 1st floor
Oakland, CA 94611
Phone: (510) 752-6390