by Cheryl Jewell
I started volunteering at the Nina K. Miller Hospicare Residence in April 2012.I have learned something special from each individual I have encountered.I have been moved by the look in patients’ eyes when I have held their hands and they are unable to speak. I have sat next to others who were unconscious, or who could no longer speak and were unable to open their eyes. I have put my hand on top of their hand and have felt their heartbeat slow down or their hand twitch slightly as they manage to just barely move a muscle. Just bringing a patient a meal or a beverage is rewarding because they smile or say thank you, and I know they feel loved.
The work I and other volunteers do helps the Hospicare staff as well. Volunteers help make staff members’ jobs easier so they can concentrate on the professional care they are qualified to give, while we can focus on the volunteer work we’re able to do.
Every minute I have volunteered with Hospicare I have learned more about myself and I’ve learned about the patients I have been with.Some patients have told me about their experiences living though World War II or Vietnam. Many have shared cherished memories of all kinds with me.
It is truly an honor to work with Hospicare and to be involved in a patient’s life during their last days.