Apr 16th 2008

New volunteer class – Be fulfilled

Posted in Hospice Volunteers, Izzy, Lenore

April 16, 2008 – Izzy, Lenore and I went to talk to the new class of Washington County Hospice volunteers, undergoing their training under the watchful eye of Hospice Honcho Keith Mann (I call him “Sarge,” which he hates: “you will do your paperwork on time!”).
Hospice is not easy to join. Lots of screening, intense training. You need all of the training, I told the new class. We talked about all the ways people can contribute – stories, photos, music, listening.
Hospice, I find, is often misunderstood. It is not a place to die, a cancer treatment facility, or a hospital. It is a network of institutions, groups and people gathered to help ease the mistreatment of the dying – their isolation and exhaustion, and most importantly, to help individual people die well, and with the dignity and comfort and choice to which they are entitled. Hospice groups vary from place to place, but they often consist of doctors, nurses, social workers, health aides and volunteers who help people driven to the very edge of life decide how they want to leave us. We help the patients and their families in a variety of ways. Sign up. There is a Hospice in your community. This work is not for everyone, but if it is for you, it can be very meaningful.
Be fulfilled. Help ease the process of dying, which in our culture is often shunned by much of the world. Help someone die well.