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”

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”

importance of nonverbal communications with hospice patients

Over the course of my training and practical hospice volunteer experience, I connected and felt entrusted by my assigned patient and developed a deeper understanding of hospice care. My patient Alice is a 93-year-old lady with Alzheimer’s, although the reason she was sent to hospice was unknown to us due to privacy. Alice is small … Continue reading “importance of nonverbal communications with hospice patients”

Understanding End of Life: A reflection about mortality and the patient experience

Since first viewing Tom Jenning’s Being Mortal and reading Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, I was struck by the idea of the two “unfixables.” The discreteness of the two items yet their broad and encompassing nature, when identified, speaks to the inherent complexity behind what are seemingly simple words: … Continue reading “Understanding End of Life: A reflection about mortality and the patient experience”

Hospice Care and the Importance of Companionship

I have gotten the chance to visit with three different patients through the Pre-Med Hospice program since the end of last fall. One of my more meaningful hospice patient relationships is with the patient I am currently seeing. Jerry is a senior who loves to talk and make friends with people, however, he has both … Continue reading “Hospice Care and the Importance of Companionship”

Greeting card

I remember the monitor beeps as I first walked into the room. It looked stale, the walls were white along with the sheets and the floor. I turned to my patient, her eyes kind, but her voice shaky. Her blue eyes were the only form of communication we had at our first meeting. I could … Continue reading “Greeting card”

Take Two

The first patient I saw passed away one week after I got to know him. I knew his name, his background on paper, and that he liked philosophy. That’s currently all I know, and probably all I ever will know about him. I wasn’t expecting much for my second patient. The first time I met … Continue reading “Take Two”