My Hospice Volunteer Journey

Being a hospice volunteer has been instrumental in improving my understanding of the death and dying process, as well as in teaching me how to interact with actively dying patients and their families. Prior to becoming a hospice volunteer, I was completely unfamiliar with the dying process. I had done clinical volunteering before, but the … Continue reading “My Hospice Volunteer Journey”

Seeking Joy

The patient I’ve been visiting for the past 5 months, “Elaine,” has extremely advanced vascular dementia. During my visits, I usually try to talk or read to her. Since she’s hard of hearing, I’ll get really close to her face and touch her arm. The touch will almost “wake” her up for a few seconds … Continue reading “Seeking Joy”

My Experience

Watching Being Mortal and the prompts I received helped me view death a lot differently. I also took an APSD Preparing for Health Careers course at Villanova and it also gave us insight on the work of a hospice volunteer. We followed the story of one woman who was told by a family not to … Continue reading “My Experience”

Learning Through Death

Death is a concept that has always been hard for me to discuss and completely accept as a part of my human experience. Facing the idea of your own morality is taboo within our society. This taboo is even more apparent for younger people who have a sense of invincibility. I have only experienced one … Continue reading “Learning Through Death”

The Boundaries of Medical Treatments and the Importance of Self-Understanding

My most meaningful hospice relationship was with a 50 year-old patient named Tom. On the day I visited Tom, it was his 50th birthday and he had balloons and cards from family visits earlier in the day. After introducing myself, Tom’s first response was mentioning that today was his birthday and that he was spending … Continue reading “The Boundaries of Medical Treatments and the Importance of Self-Understanding”

How Hospice Changed My Perspective on Death and Dying in Medicine

Before my hospice experience, the only way I could conceptualize death and dying was through images of hospital rooms, death, and loss. I accepted death as natural, but it had a sense of sterility, and in the medical sense, I, like many, tied death to defeat. Over the course of my hospice experience, I have … Continue reading “How Hospice Changed My Perspective on Death and Dying in Medicine”

A Different Perspective on Death

Volunteering in the Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program has been a rewarding experience I did not expect in the entire duration of the academic year. It was something unique compared to other volunteer programs as it involved more patient communication and interaction. Death has been one of the topics not openly discussed in society, and my … Continue reading “A Different Perspective on Death”

Being Comfortable With Death

A difficult problem arises as society advances and medical technologies and treatments improve. In times like these, it is hard not to strive for the most aggressive form of treatment for one’s patient in hopes of prolonging their life. Yet, the endeavor of the medical profession should not solely be based on survival, but overall … Continue reading “Being Comfortable With Death”

A Glimpse into Two Lives

It is difficult to put experiences, much less people, into words. One could never do someone justice when describing all that they are, and how they have touched our lives. Nonetheless, it is important that we do so; we should not keep these experiences just for ourselves. This hospice experience was something I had never … Continue reading “A Glimpse into Two Lives”

Coming to Terms

This past year has been an exceptional learning experience for me. In addition to volunteering for Hospice of Piedmont, I have been taking a course titled “Intro to U.S. Healthcare” which explores the United States’ health systems. Last week, for example, our seminar’s topic for the week was “Aging, Geriatrics, Dying and Bioethics.” Many of … Continue reading “Coming to Terms”