Thursday, May 19, 2011

hospice volunteer

hospice~ : a facility or program designed to provide a caring environment for meeting the physical and emotional needs of the terminally ill. 
That is the definition I found in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
In fact, most of the definitions were very much the same, yet as I have completed my 3rd week in Hospice Training, I find it to be so much more than that.
At the Hospital that I am training with, it consist of a team that focus is caring beyond curing.

The team consist of:
  • Nurse / Care Manager
  • Social Worker
  • Spiritual Care Coordinator
  • Hospice Aide
  • Therapists
  • Dietians
  • Volunteers
That's where I fall in.  My decision to become a volunteer has been pecking at me for some time. I just didn't realize what that little voice or calling was. I felt a void, but didn't realize it was a need to serve.
I have learned so much not only about Hospice, Patients, Caretakers, Family dynamics, and Death & Dying process, but about my own dynamics and my own spirituality.

This isn't for everyone.
You have to be compassionate yet genuine. You have to know how to treat one with respect not pity. Dignity not condescending.

How I see it, is, these patients are at the end of life...We will all die one day. No getting around that. However, we may not all know when our time is near. We may not experience daily pain and suffering. Worry over loved ones, financial situations, and the hereafter.  If we are lucky, we will live a grand life and peacefully die. But, that isn't the way it is for everyone. Some are faced with long grueling exhausting diseases that deplete us. Some have a shorter illness but knowing their time is short, well, I can't imagine as I have never been in this situation.

And there is the families. The friends. The feeling of uselessness as they can not protect or "save" their loved ones. The how can I make it better...What can I do for you... The anguish of failure that I can't "fix" you.

My role as a volunteer will be one of many hats. I am here not only to assist patients but to assist families. To relieve. To give an extra hand. To give some valuable time.
I may be needed to sit with a patient. To read. To talk. To laugh.
I may be needed to clean. To cook. To help with household chores.

I will be a chameleon. I will be what they need me to be.


Scott said...

Bless you! Thank goodness there are people like you who are willing to do this. It is something I could not fathom doing. I sat with my mother as she died 9 months ago yesterday. It is something that still haunts me. Thankfully she was in hospice for only about a week. I think hospice care was a much greater comfort to my sister. For me the most appreciated part was just learning about the typical dying process. Much of what Mom did was by the book, so it helped to explain much of what I was seeing and to help me know what to expect next. Still, I could not make that a part of my daily routine. Thankfully, God gave us each unique strengths and talents, so there are those angels among us who have been blessed with the gift to comfort others and who have the strength to see the process through. Thanks for being one of those!

janis said...

Glad to hear you had a positive experience. I hope that all my families will feel the same.
I do feel it is some kind of calling. I know not everyone feels the same as I do, I just hope that if I or anyone I love is in a situation where they need Hospice...someone will be kind & gentle for them. I mostly feel while the patient is more in tune and prepared it's the family that needs our support.
This is my year!
Im meeting two goals of nurturing at the same time.. The Volunteer work, and now the job @ ISD!
I will be a broke but happy angel :)

Anonymous said...

I did this for many years, in fact after being a volunteer for a few months, setting up a much-needed regular newsletter, and then organising a big Christmas fair which went extremely well, they asked if I would work (paid) part time as secretary, job-sharing with the other secretary. I jumped at it, but was often there way past my hours as I loved being with the patients. After a couple of years, I trained to be a grief and bereavement counsellor and asked would they let me change jobs, but no they wouldn't. So I left and pursued the counselling privately. I'd have done it for nothing, gladly. It was the best place to be.