September 20, 2019 / Sarah Girling, MSW
do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart”
Volunteers hold a very special place in hospice. In fact, the idea of hospice was born once volunteers began dedicating their time to helping others navigate a difficult and vital life transition. That is why Faith and Hope holds our volunteers on a high pedestal. We would not be where we are today without their selfless dedication towards continuing what our past role models created so many years ago.
People decide to volunteer within hospice for many different reasons. One of the most common reasons is because they have had a personal experience of a loved one that utilized hospice services, which turned into an overall compassionate encounter. Having a loved one depart from us is never an easy experience. The ones that offer compassionate care during that time is what helps make it that much more bearable as we weather the storm together. Volunteering is their way of expressing gratitude and replicating the kindness they received through hospice staff. We do recommend to wait at least a year after your loved one has passed on before volunteering. The reason being is that progressing through the grieving process is much more prevalent during that first year. It could make it harder for a volunteer to navigate their own emotions of grief if taking on too much right away. Waiting a certain amount of time will ultimately make the volunteering experience much more rewarding for both you, the patients, and their loved ones.
Another reason we hear from our volunteers is that they felt a higher calling to donate their time within hospice because they wanted to learn more about the end-of-life process. As we all know, that process is special to each patient and family with no story being the same. However, there are common threads that connect those stories, which is what makes volunteering unique within itself. We hope our volunteers implement that connection into their own personal lives in order to create a chain reaction of kindness and humility. It really does take just one person to make a lasting impact within their communities so why not start by helping others during one of the most difficult times of their lives. It is important to remember that our patients and families are creating a lasting impact on the volunteer as well. Hence, creating memories and lessons that will stay with everyone for a lifetime.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please reach out and let us know. We love hearing about your experiences and would appreciate any feedback on how we and our volunteers helped you and your family through this journey. All of our volunteers attend an orientation and receive on going supportive care through our agency. Volunteers is what hospice was built on and therefore, will forever remain an integral part of how we provide exceptional care.
Remember, as Ann Richardson said, “We cannot change the outcome, but we can affect the journey.”
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Sarah Girling, MSW. You can reach her at 818-559-1460 or by email email@example.com