Journeys of Compassion: Reflections on Hospice Volunteering

The patient who I was visiting during the fall of 2023, whom we will call “Sue”, was an elderly woman in her late seventies. She had just been diagnosed with brain cancer not too long before being put on hospice. The cancer was affecting her ability to hear and she was constantly very fatigued. She … Continue reading “Journeys of Compassion: Reflections on Hospice Volunteering”

Beyond Life

The patient (named “Sophie” in this essay for anonymity) and I have become quite close over the past weeks. Initially, “Sophie” was reluctant to speak but as days passed by, she started opening up and our conversations became lengthier. As she grew cognizant of my presence and my weekly visits, I felt the nature of … Continue reading “Beyond Life”

Hospice Volunteering: Meeting Patients Where They’re At

My time as a hospice volunteer has been a transformative, impactful and overall fulfilling experience. During the school year I was assigned to two patients: the first being “Emma” and the latter “Janeen”, both of which provided me drastically different experiences. Emma was chatty, sarcastic, and incredibly hilarious. I recall being nervous before my first … Continue reading “Hospice Volunteering: Meeting Patients Where They’re At”

Seeing Beyond the Cure

Seeing Beyond the Cure One of the main questions I had when starting out in the Athena Hospice program was do I have what it takes to make a good hospice volunteer? I started my visits and set out to figure out which characteristics would best equip someone to be a great hospice volunteer. I … Continue reading “Seeing Beyond the Cure”

Centering the Patient: Making a Difference as a Hospice Volunteer

As many of the first prompts noted, death was never an aspect that I had considered when I decided to be a pre-med student freshman year of college. When the opportunity came to become a volunteer in a hospice, I was reluctant to apply: What if a patient brought up death during a visit? How … Continue reading “Centering the Patient: Making a Difference as a Hospice Volunteer”

Hospice Volunteer Learning Experience

This experience was very valuable in helping me learn more about the medical system and how senior care is implemented. More importantly, in my opinion, this experience taught me more about how people view death and how having relationships, however brief, are so important to a meaningful existence. Over 6 to 7 months, I met … Continue reading “Hospice Volunteer Learning Experience”

Why Everyone Should Be a Hospice Worker

As a means to respect their privacy, the patient mentioned in the following will be referred to as “Mr. Bob.” “Mr. Bob” and mine relationship was the most meaningful out of the many patient relationships I had the opportunity to develop as a part of the Athena Hospice experience. When we first met, I remember … Continue reading “Why Everyone Should Be a Hospice Worker”

Realizing what’s truly important in life

When I first signed up to volunteer with this program, I didn’t know what to fully expect as the only experience I had had with death and end of life care were my own grandparents and great-grandma. Even though my grandfather had received palliative care, I didn’t know the full scope of what caring for … Continue reading “Realizing what’s truly important in life”

Talkative Rose

This semester I had the privilege of making weekly visits to sweet, caring and talkative “Rose”. Vastly different from my first patient, Rose eagerly awaited seeing us every week and upon our arrival, would immediately sit straight up, turn off her television and give us her whole attention. And while Rose loved to talk about … Continue reading “Talkative Rose”

A Life-Changing Experience

As this program comes to a close, I would like to take the time to reflect on my experiences as a hospice volunteer. The patient that I would like to talk about is named “JR” for the sake of her privacy and to ensure confidentiality. My patient and I got very close over the course … Continue reading “A Life-Changing Experience”