When I attended the information session on becoming a hospice volunteer, I was unsure if this type of work would be right for me. I wasn’t even confident I knew what hospice meant. However, after consideration, I took a leap of faith and went through the onboarding process. A few months later, I finally saw … Continue reading “Kim”

The Value of Healing

Hospice volunteering has no doubt shaped my future aspirations as a physician. I have experienced first-hand the value of emotional care at the end of life. We will not be able to physically cure every patient, but we can always provide them with comfort and support. During my volunteer experience, one of the biggest challenges … Continue reading “The Value of Healing”

Being Present

When I first saw Sue, she was wrapped up in a purple blanket, sitting in a wheelchair in front of the television. On the screen, dancers glided across a stage. I approached Sue cautiously, not wanting to disturb her. She looked so peaceful sitting there. Cozy, even. I patted her on the shoulder. “Hi Sue,” … Continue reading “Being Present”

Family In Need of Care

When I heard about this volunteer position, I was excited at the prospect of finally getting patient care volunteer hours, since that’s an important aspect of my future application to medical school. I applied hoping to get those requirements, help some hospice patients, and learn something along the way, but I was not prepared for … Continue reading “Family In Need of Care”

My Journey Through the Pitt Hospice Volunteering Program

On my first day volunteering with the Pitt Hospice program, I wasn’t expecting to be staring blankly at white walls as my “Hello!” echoed back to me. I was in the room with Ben, my first dementia patient, and within 30 minutes of awkward, fragmented conversation, my romanticized expectations and hopes for immediate connection and … Continue reading “My Journey Through the Pitt Hospice Volunteering Program”

The Importance of Fleeting Moments and Patient Interaction

When I was nearing the end of middle school, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. At first, I did not really comprehend what that meant. I knew symptoms of the disease and had heard of it before, but I did not foresee how it would affect me and my family. Watching my grandfather’s condition … Continue reading “The Importance of Fleeting Moments and Patient Interaction”


“I am sorry, we can talk more when you come back next.” “Have a wonderful break, I can’t wait to hear about your adventure.” “Next week, I’ll tell you what happened after that.” The above quotations came from three exceptional people that I had the pleasure of knowing for a brief time. Some I only … Continue reading “Moments”

Life is Ephemeral

I have never been particularly scared of death. To me, death is a natural thing that must happen to everyone, no matter the circumstances of their life. As a famous quote says: “The only things that are certain in life are change and death.” However, I still have never witnessed death in my life firsthand, … Continue reading “Life is Ephemeral”

Death as a Gift

Through my experience volunteering with the Hospice of the Piedmont, I have met many people and have listened to their life stories. Some interactions have been brief, lasting only hours. Others have been more consistent, giving me a deeper, more complete experience with caring for the terminally ill. One such interaction was with Jim and … Continue reading “Death as a Gift”

Understanding Death

My relationship with my hospice patient is meaningful because I know that sometimes I am the only one that tries to engage with her. I usually find her in a chair with the television on, even though she cannot see and can barely hear. Her caregivers do the tasks necessary to keep her alive, but … Continue reading “Understanding Death”