The reason I decided to be a hospice volunteer with All Care is I wanted to support the dying patients and their families through the dying process. I think it is a sacred gift to be perhaps the last friend that my clients will make and I am humbled to be that friend!
The moment that I knew hospice volunteering was for me was during the training because much of what I already knew was confirmed. The scariest part of volunteering for me was the possibility that the person I visit may have a physical or emotional episode that I was not able to deal with effectively. Now I feel that I will be able to calmly and effectively handle these kinds of episodes if and when they occur. The most beneficial part of my training was everything. It was a pastorally sensitive and practically comprehensive training which prepared me to begin my hospice volunteering. When I completed the training, I felt ready to begin.
On my way to my first visit, I wondered what condition my client would be in and if we would connect. On my way home, I thought that my client, her caregiver and I would be a good fit. The moment I knew I was making a difference was when my first client smiled at me. The aspect of my volunteer experience I value most is the simplicity of being faithfully present to my client. When I meet a new patient I feel excited to begin a new adventure with him/her and his/her caretaker(s).
My favorite part of being a member of the All Care Hospice team is visiting my clients and connecting with the staff, especially the volunteer coordinator who is a great and awesome support for us all. The best way the volunteer coordinator supports me is by her frequent e-mails, volunteer updates, calls, and words of support and appreciation as well as opportunities for ongoing training and support. I know I am an important member of the care team because, by the grace of God, I share the team’s mission of compassion and being a companion to the client and caretakers who are dealing with the challenge and mystery of dying.
I sometimes share my experience as an All Care Hospice volunteer with friends and family because I want them to understand that this volunteering is a part of who I am. What I tell people when they ask why I’m a hospice volunteer is I am honored to be present to persons during one of the most intimate times of their lives.