The Story of your Life

Working with my patient, let’s call her “Sally,” over the past semester has been an absolute treat. Sally has lived in Philadelphia her entire life. She enjoys playing board games and going outside on the porch. Sally always smiles at the nurses and attendant that come to and from, and likes to sit by the … Continue reading “The Story of your Life”

My fears and resolve to help patients

Entering hospice volunteering, my aspiration was to refine my caretaking skills and deepen my empathy for patients’ needs. Yet, I grappled with daunting concerns about my own mental well-being and my perceived inability to provide comfort. I felt constrained, fearing I could only broach conversations about death, hindered by my lack of musical or vocal … Continue reading “My fears and resolve to help patients”

Trusting Bonds

Throughout my time as a hospice volunteer, I’ve come to see how communication happens across a variety of mediums, and encompasses so much more than just verbal. Many of the patients who I have come to know and form a relationship with cannot speak due to the progression of their diseases, and learning to communicate … Continue reading “Trusting Bonds”

Growth of a New Passion

I have had three patients during my time under Compassus. During the fall semester, I spent many hours getting to know “Beth” and “Rachel”. Rachel had the most beautiful laugh and although communicating was difficult, I was able to learn so many fascinating things about her life before she graduated from hospice. I became close … Continue reading “Growth of a New Passion”

Acceptance: The Lesson I Learned from Hospice Volunteering

The topic of death had always been taboo to me – even when it came to family members, we barely spoke of their passing. I knew that being pre-health, I would need to understand the role of death and dying in medicine, but I continued to push it off, delving into curative-based research. I applied … Continue reading “Acceptance: The Lesson I Learned from Hospice Volunteering”

The Journey of Hospice

My patient was a beautiful soul. Her room was fully decorated with pieces of art, lamps, little glass trinkets and it really made the place feel like it was her home. You could imagine the entirety of her home based on the decorations at hand. Her hair was always so well maintained, thoroughly brushed and … Continue reading “The Journey of Hospice”

Finding Color

My first visit to a hospice facility was at a well-funded center filled with attentive staff, decorations on the wall, and patients in common rooms laughing and talking. The air was filled with joy and could have been mistaken for a hotel at first glance. Every patient had their own room filled with personal belongings … Continue reading “Finding Color”

The choosing when there are no options.

My patient, “P”, was an elderly woman with highly advanced dementia, a high level of hearing loss and limited mobility. She was well loved by her children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren, most of whom lived nearby and were able to visit on a regular basis. When I first met her, her daughter in law … Continue reading “The choosing when there are no options.”

A Complete Life

Many of my patients have limited communication abilities and/or have experienced a decline in their cognitive abilities which impacts their communications. One of my patients has severe dementia and is unable to discern who I am or why I am there to visit with her, but she is always cheerful and excited to see me. … Continue reading “A Complete Life”

Lessons I’ve Learned from My First Year as a Hospice Volunteer

Throughout my experience in the Pre-Med Hospice Program, I was fortunate to form a bond with a patient whom I’ll refer to as Mrs. Anderson. Mrs. Anderson’s journey through life’s final chapters served as a poignant reminder of the intrinsic beauty and fragility of human existence. In the heart of the hospice setting, amid the … Continue reading “Lessons I’ve Learned from My First Year as a Hospice Volunteer”