I am with a new hospice volunteer when she meets her patient for the first time. I have allowed the two to speak alone for a few moments when I return. I kneel down to the patient, smile, and ask if it is okay if the volunteer comes back to see her once in a while. Her response is the same that I hear again and again in this situation
"Yes, of course. Not many people come to see me".
Does my heart break a little when I hear this? Yes. But it also confirms why I do this job, why I feel this job is so important. I am the volunteer coordinator for a hospice, and I am truly blessed to be able to say that every single day. I never expected to land here, I applied and interviewed because a friend encouraged me to do so. And now that I've been here a year, I am passionate about my job.
Hospice is focused on care management for patients who are close to dying. We provide the physical, emotional, and spiritual support for patients and families so that they can be as comfortable as possible. Often times, patients are lonely, needing companionship or someone to come and hold their hand. That's where I come in. That's where my volunteers come in. It is truly inspirational to be able to see first hand the impact the volunteers make on the patients and families.
Being a hospice volunteer is not something many people can say they have done. But everyone should do it. It truly opens your eyes to the realities of life and death. It focuses on human connection, and that in itself is a beautiful thing.
Believe me when I say, our patients need someone like you. Someone caring, gentle, energetic. Someone who can listen, someone who is patient. If that someone is you, consider becoming a hospice volunteer today.