Hospice Volunteer Reflection

I was really nervous when I walked into the dementia unit for the very first time. Even though we had an extensive orientation, I still didn’t know what to expect. But my nervousness disappeared the moment I saw my patient Anne in the dining room. The first word that come to my mind to describe … Continue reading “Hospice Volunteer Reflection”

What More Can We Do?

I was lucky to have had the same patient, Sally, for the entirety of my participation in the hospice program. Creating a meaningful relationship with Sally was easy; she is talkative and loves having company. We spent most of our time together talking about her family. She has 5 children and a number of grandchildren, … Continue reading “What More Can We Do?”

Reflection on Aging and Death

I did not know what to expect during my first visit with Jan. I was not only nervous about meeting someone new and about the possibility that Jan would not want me to visit, but I was also uncomfortable with the possible conversations about life and death that would ensue. My relationship with Jan began … Continue reading “Reflection on Aging and Death”

The Attitude Towards End of Life

Jenny was my first patient through this program. When I first arrived at the facility, I was surprised to find that she was out of her room and in the common room instead. When I introduced myself, I knew she wouldn’t be too alert to what I was saying, so I tried to let her … Continue reading “The Attitude Towards End of Life”

The Moments of Life

When I applied to be a hospice volunteer, I expected and embraced the fact that I would have the opportunity to serve others. I did not realize just how much the experience would provide to me in return. With the intention of pursuing a career in medicine, my time serving as a hospice volunteer has … Continue reading “The Moments of Life”

The Importance of Communication

During my time in the pre-med Hospice program facilitated by Holisticare Hospice and the Athena Institute, I have developed a great passion for proper communication with patients, specifically those in dire need while receiving end-of-life care. This process has shown me the importance of treating end-of-life care as something critical for a proper conclusion to … Continue reading “The Importance of Communication”

Dementia: What Compassionate Care Can Achieve That Prescriptions Cannot.

I have spent the majority of my hospice volunteering experience with a woman in her late 90s with dementia, who I will refer to as Judy. Judy reminds me of my grandmother: They’re both sociable, talkative, strong-willed women who have been changed by dementia. While dementia may seem less harmful than other conditions, in that … Continue reading “Dementia: What Compassionate Care Can Achieve That Prescriptions Cannot.”

Unshackled by Fear

The car bumped up and down as its wheels rolled over cracks and holes in the asphalt below. Each bump was like a ticking clock counting down towards the inevitable meeting I would have with a person at the end of his life. I rehearsed in my head over and over how I would greet … Continue reading “Unshackled by Fear”

My Hospice Experience

Before I began my hospice experience, I rarely thought about dying and the aging process. Even when I applied to the program, I thought about hospice care as a relatively stagnant experience. Everyone I talked to about hospice had a sad reaction, as if being placed in hospice care were one of the worst things … Continue reading “My Hospice Experience”

Remembering Death as a Part of Life

I knew Alice had no idea who I was each time I walked through her door, so I made sure to introduce myself at the start of every visit. On some days, including the first time we met, she was very cheerful and wanted to take me around her floor. Other times, she was quiet. … Continue reading “Remembering Death as a Part of Life”