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Hospice Volunteer News & Events
Volunteer Focus Newsletter • Winter 2018
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From the Rule of Saint Benedict: Live this life and do whatever is done, in a spirit of thanksgiving. Often as we wake and greet the day we are confronted by voices of fear and anxiety. These voices point to all the ways that we are unsafe and all the ways in which what we have is fragile. The words of Saint Benedict reminds us that there is a better way. The way of thanksgiving. We can start our day, not by giving into the voices of fear and anxiety, but by understanding they are only voices from our brains. We can thank these voices for reminding us that we are alive and meant for meaningful work in the world. This is the practice of savoring, the act of connecting to the blessing in our lives. This practice requires us to be awake to those blessings, that we connect to them, and we allow this connection to grow thanksgiving in our hearts. When we savor, it changes our relationship to the world. Instead of seeing enemies at every corner, we start to see friends. We start to see human persons with common hope and desire for their lives. We extend to each other kindness and grace. When we live in thanksgiving, savoring the blessing in our lives, we start to see the blessings are more than the challenges. This is a truth that I see repeatedly in my work as a counselor. One powerful way of connecting to thanksgiving in your life is to volunteer. The act of volunteering is helpful in getting us connected to thanksgiving. Volunteering exposes us to moments of blessing and helps us to savor our thanksgiving. So, to those that volunteer, thank you for your example. And to those who struggle with fearful and anxiety voices in your head, remember to breath and savor the blessings and consider giving of yourself to another as a Volunteer. 

Garrett Price, MASF, CPC, CSD
Senior Vice President of Education
Welcome New Volunteers!
Arley Atkins
Barbara Monaco-Wagner
Carol Delsman
Jan Hufnagel
Joyce Clark
Kelsey Tomlinson
Patrick Lattin

Amber Pierce
Jerry Foxworth

Jackie Smelser
Jim Shake
Julie Taylor
Randy Taylor

India Wright
Kathleen Adamson

Ariana Grgas
Hannah Unger
Heidi Stark
Joy Stevenson
Mark Thorne
Ryland McDermott
Baker City Volunteer Coordinator

Who inspires you? A lot of different people inspire me.  Of late, those who persevere are at the top of my list.  When the odds are stacked against them, but they still pursue their dreams, or they are struggling, but continue to work harder.  

How do you recharge? I love reading fantasy books.  I also like hiking and playing soccer.  

What advice do you have for those on the fence about volunteering? Talk it out.  Find a sound wall.  Whether it be a seasoned Volunteer (which would be great!) or a friend - it’s important to work out why they want to volunteer, what they would gain from it, and what can their schedule accommodate.  Usually, if something in you is saying you should volunteer, it’s right!

People would be surprised if they knew: I love to crochet!  My grandma taught me and I learned to crochet people’s favorite kind of flower to give to them.  

When are you the happiest? Every year on the holidays my family has a ping pong tournament.  With snacks, smack talk, and the bragging rights (which I gain every year)! It’s amazing!
Volunteers of the Quarter

This quarter’s Volunteer nomination was an easy pick! We chose to highlight the wonderful comfort choir in our Emmett office. The comfort choir, which consists of 9 amazing individuals, visit a different Emmett facility every week spreading their talents to many of our patients. The comfort choir consists of (Sandra Alley, Vivian Gilbert, Sherry Gordon, Cyndi Hochstetler, Phyllis & Steve Moore, Eve Raezer, and Alan & Cindy Shaber). Some of the choir members have been Volunteers since 2011 and continue to give their time week after week.

In the past two years alone, the comfort choir has volunteered over 1,500 hours! That’s 1,500 hours of practicing, singing, and brightening the lives of our patients through music.  

Time and time again I hear from patients how much they enjoy listening to the music. Many times, patients who are no longer able to communicate will hear a song from their past and be able to join in and reminisce. It is moments like that which show just how important our Volunteers are to our patients and it shows the huge impact they make every day.  

Thank you to the Comfort Choir! You brighten so many lives in Emmett and we are eternally grateful for the work you have done and continue to do!
Anita Bergquist, Caldwell Volunteer Coordinator

As a Volunteer, you will have the opportunity to work hands-on with our incredible patients, welcoming the benefits of mutually improved wellness and quality of life. Oftentimes, patients change our lives, just as much as we do theirs. 

No matter what the activity, the gift of time leaves a lasting impression on a patient and family.  You can Volunteer in a variety of areas, in both direct and indirect patient care, including, but not limited to:
• Companionship
• Reading 
• Looking at Photos
• Visits or Phone Calls
• Letter Writing/Journaling
• 11th Hour Support / Caregiver Respite 
• House Chores Assistance

Because of Volunteer diversity, we have a variety of patient needs filled regularly. It is awesome to be able to utilize the individuality that each Volunteer brings.
Joelle Brown, La Pine & Bend Volunteer Coordinator

The role of the Volunteer is difficult to describe because the need we fill is complex. We might offer a listening ear, bring flowers, or sit for an hour and have a pleasant visit. But, sometimes the needs are more specific. Nancy lost her husband and is now living alone. She has dementia and notices her memory is slipping. She often has anxiety and is overwhelmed by these changes after fifty years of security in marriage. She didn’t realize how much he did around the house. Our team discussed how to help her. She would not be able to live alone in her home forever. 

Last month, Nancy received about ten hours of yard work from Volunteers. They removed brush and pine needles on 5 acres. This month, a Volunteer has committed to re-staining her deck. In Nancy’s case, re-staining the deck might not change the possibility of having to move out of her home, but it will ease her mind for even the smallest amount of time that she is taking care of her house like her husband used to do. 

Sometimes we get stuck thinking a Volunteer’s role is narrowly this or that, but what I learn from our Volunteers is that their role is determined by the Volunteer themselves. Sometimes, the Volunteer is a landscaper, or carpenter, or chef, or a personal shopper. The Volunteer gets to choose what they are willing to do. Volunteers remind us that we are here to give patients and their families comfort, and we bring comfort wherever we can. 
Marce Martin, La Grande Volunteer Coordinator

“No one person should die alone,” is the underlying theme of the 11th Hour Volunteer role. The Volunteer who holds a high rating of empathy, a person of openness, and one who has courage, is a good candidate for an 11th Hour Volunteer.  University of Houston professor Dr. Brené Brown expresses that people should have “courage over comfort” and it is the asset that 11th Hour Hospice Volunteers have courage. 

It is common that life will bring us hard things and one thing is the end of life journey. On this journey, death truly is a “shadow in a valley” and there is courage for one who is willing to face fear, pain, uncertainty, and death. Our 11th Hour Volunteers are specially trained about the development and processes of death. Often death is an uncharted territory for family members and friends and it becomes a privilege that we can offer support and make it a goal for a person to pass on in peace.

Time and time again Hospice Volunteers report of “getting more back than they put in.” Are you ready to choose courage over comfort? Go online to, talk with your Volunteer Coordinator, and become an 11th Hour Volunteer. As Brené Brown would say, “There is power in vulnerability.” 11th Hour volunteering opens up opportunities for personal growth, new insights, and a place for healing.
Danielle Kaufman, Volunteer Coordinator Coach

Wendy, our Meridian Volunteer who makes monthly bereavement calls shared a story of a gentleman who had lost his wife on our services. She was assigned to him to make support phone calls about eight months after he had lost his wife. During the five months she spoke with him she learned that he had been attending a support group at the facility where his wife had lived. He told her something that truly helped his grieving process was to share his story and his experiences. He got very involved in the support group and as the anniversary of his wife’s passing came, he was assisting others in the support group. He told Wendy that it was cathartic to speak in front of everyone and truly helped him through his own grief process. 

His daughter, who was struggling herself from losing her mother, also helped other bereaved members in the support group. They both found the work so positive and uplifting. They found that helping others, in turn, helped themselves. It’s amazing that we can lose ourselves in the service of others. I often think that we decide to work or Volunteer in hospice to help change lives, but more often than not, it is our own lives that are changed. 

Thank you to Wendy for sharing this wonderful story and reminding us of the amazing people we get to serve in this role! 

Anita Bergquist, Caldwell Volunteer Coordinator

It is important for families facing a terminal illness or coping with recent loss to understand grief and death and how it impacts family members of all ages.  People respond to a loss in different ways, and no two people grieve the same way.  There are different ways that people cope with loss.  Remember that it is normal for people to fluctuate between the different stages as they grieve. The grieving process varies from person to person in terms of the order in which one experiences the stages of grief, as well as the time it takes to advance through the stages of grief. Some people may start with anger, while others may start with denial.   

Stages of grief:
• Denial grief may feel numb or put one in a state of shock. Some people protect their emotion when a life event is too overwhelming to deal with all at once.
• Anger grief is when one is extremely upset that a tragedy has happened. A good way to deal with bursts of anger is to exercise or participate in another type of physical activity. It is important to remember that there is nothing a grieving person or the child did that contributed to the death. 
• Depression and sadness with death is something we can’t deny. That is normal. It is important to talk about depression with a professional such as a Social Worker or Counselor. You can also meet with a support group to help each other cope.
• Acceptance is the stage in which the grieving person has accepted death as a part of life. People have made an adjustment to the loss and resolution has taken place with the death. This may include religious and cultural beliefs and practices.  

Additional helpful tips:
• There is no timeline for grief.
• Don’t be afraid to say the name of the lost loved one. 
• Showing empathy and compassion toward someone who has experience loss gives great support. 
Find a Grief Support Group Near You
Frankie Larsen, LMSW, Medical Social Services Coach
From a Social Worker’s perspective, the power of a trusting relationship between a clinician and patient is everything. It is the magic that can create a safe space, allowing individuals to venture into uncomfortable territory where they can explore and resolve painful issues from their past. Helping our patients by facilitating such exploration and healing can add value to their lives. It has been my experience that at the end of life, many people have a strong desire to engage in this work; however, I have found that our Veteran patients tend to be more stoic and less likely to open up to strangers and share on a deeper level. Recently, I have been working with one such Veteran. While he is always polite and accepting of my visits, he has remained emotionally closed off and unwilling to venture much past his surface feelings. During a recent visit, I asked him about his military experiences. He replied, “Some things are difficult to talk about, so I don’t.” My intuition was telling me that he did not feel safe enough in my presence to share, but that he had powerful experiences that need to be processed. It was at this point that I provided education on the availability of Veteran Volunteers and their desire to support other Veterans. He allowed me to request a Veteran Volunteer. I saw the patient last week and he was a different person. When I asked how it was going with his Volunteer, he simply replied, “Leroy is great,” as his face lit up. His wife stated she has not seen him so excited to spend time with anyone for quite a while. Our patient is a quiet man and does not like to carry on casual conversation. However, he states, “Leroy will carry the conversation” making their time together comfortable. It warms my heart that he has found someone that he is willing to let in and my hope is that as their relationship continues to develop, trust will allow our patient to feel safe enough to engage in the work that can bring comfort and a peaceful death. 
Kaiza Rea, Baker City Volunteer Coordinator

One patient was known in his facility for being quiet.  He would rarely speak.  When he did, it took prompting and ended in brief stilted conversation.  However, during his pinning ceremony, the Veteran was overflowing with stories about his service.  He shared stories about funny moments and about when he and his team had to use their minds to overcome obstacles.  As he was pinned, surrounded by family and people who were grateful for his service, he shed tears.  

Later, this patient was visited by a Veteran Volunteer.  They talked about their service and bonded over their shared experiences.  Having a Veteran companion opened this patient up to the point where it helped to heal his soul. With the Social Worker, Spiritual Care Provider, and Veteran Volunteer all working together, he was able to work through his experiences to find a peace that he might not have had otherwise. The recognition of his service and the honor of a pinning ceremony brought out a pride and peace within him.  

Veteran Volunteers also provide a depth of compassion that cannot be found elsewhere. Here, in the Baker City office, we are lucky to have four Veteran Volunteers. Nearly all of them have a patient that they visit regularly in addition to attending these ceremonies. They have served our country and continue to serve the people by offering a new level of compassion. In their continual giving, they demonstrate the beauty of service.
Danielle Kaufman, Volunteer Coordinator Coach    

Heart ‘n Home is a proud member of the We Honor Veterans Organization. We assess all of our Veteran patients upon admission to hospice with a military history assessment. This ensures we are caring for them accordingly and honoring the service that they gave to our country.  If we have Veteran patients on service who are open to Volunteers, we try to pair them with a Veteran Volunteer. There is often an instant bond between Veteran patients and Veteran Volunteers. They have the opportunity to share their stories, experiences, and have an understanding of the service and sacrifice they gave. As a Volunteer in hospice, the We Honor Veterans Program offers the following tips that you can use to engage, honor, and recognize the Veterans you serve:

• Give Veterans an opportunity to tell their stories.
• Respect Veterans’ service, their feelings, and any suggestions they might offer.
• When approaching Veterans for their participation, consider bringing another Veteran with you.
• Listen to what a Veteran or their family member has to share about the situation they are dealing with.
• Be supportive and non-judgmental and always validate their feelings and concerns.
• Be honest, sincere, caring and respectful. Accept, without judgment, the Veteran as he/she is.
• It might take longer for some Veterans to trust you. Be patient and listen.
• Expect the Veteran’s sharing to occur over a period of time.    

If you are interested in serving our Veteran patients, contact your Volunteer Coordinator today! 
I'm interested in Veteran-to-Veteran volunteering!
Danielle Kaufman, Volunteer Coordinator Coach

Recently while running errands, I was in the checkout line, someone saw my name badge and asked, “You work in hospice?”  When I replied, “Yes,” I got the “normal” reaction of a scrunched-up face with an uncomfortable expression. The cashier responded with,“Isn’t that morbid?”  This is the reaction I get 9 out of 10 times. I think they immediately think of negatives. I know that hospice isn’t negative and I like to respond with, “What I think you meant to say was rewarding?” I love responding this way because immediately their expression changes and they stop to think about it. “Wow, you know I’ve never thought it like that, but I bet you are right,” the cashier responded. 

This service isn’t always easy.  In fact, you may have hard visits and you may want to give up. If you have a hard visit, I ask that you remember why you wanted to Volunteer.  Remember the passion that brought you here. Remember, though you might not feel you have made an impact or change, you have, and your life will also change. Also, sharing your passion with others is the easiest way to remember why you are doing this. So, go ahead, be passionate and share that passion with others! 
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