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”

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”

Six Months I’ll Always Remember

My hospice volunteer experience was completely different from my expectations, but still beautiful in some ways I expected and some ways that surprised me. With a partner, I began visiting a patient, Laura, in October. When we first me her, we were blown away by how healthy she appeared. Laura was walking around, dancing with … Continue reading “Six Months I’ll Always Remember”

Rethinking How We Deal With Death

Death and fear are two words that quite often occupy the same sentence, but where does this fear of death come from? From the day we are born, the world we live in teaches us to fear death. We avoid talking about death. We refrain from actions that may cause death. We do everything we … Continue reading “Rethinking How We Deal With Death”

My Hospice Experience

One of my most meaningful relationships that I developed during this hospice volunteer program has been with the husband of my patient. Over the past few months, we would play cards and keep my patient involved and talking as much as possible. However, even on the days when my patient wasn’t able to make it … Continue reading “My Hospice Experience”

A Valentine’s Day Lesson of Perspective

Prior to volunteering with hospice, I had a limited view of what it meant to be “on hospice.” I believed that hospice was for patients who were restricted to the bed, limited in energy, and nearing their final hours. From my first visits with my patient, Wilma, I realized that hospice care is more than … Continue reading “A Valentine’s Day Lesson of Perspective”

A Reflection on My Experience as a Volunteer

The first patient I met moved me to tears. She was sitting in the lobby by herself. My volunteer coordinator said, “She is always here, the nursing staff almost always just put her here and leave her, shoving a day-old newspaper in her hand.” The newspaper was covered in grease and food crumbs. She had … Continue reading “A Reflection on My Experience as a Volunteer”

New Perspectives

Throughout the past nine months, my experience as a hospice volunteer has taught me some of the most valuable lessons and equipped me with a better understanding of the balance between medical care and the beauty of human life. My weekly visits with patients allowed me to experience many aspects of end-of-life care and to … Continue reading “New Perspectives”

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”