A Volunteer at Lake Superior Hospice Reflects on her Journey
A life journey
March 18, 2012
To the Journal editor:
Today, I am proud to be part of a most compassionate hospice team as a volunteer. When I receive that call from Lake Superior Hospice, asking if I am available to visit a patient, I hear them say: “I have another ‘gift’ for you today.” They say gifts come in all sizes and packages.
How true. You never know what this gift is going to be – sometimes you never know until you open that gift. I have been blessed with many loving gifts from hospice since 2003. They do not sit on my shelf at home. They reside in my heart and I pay them forward.
Hospice care is a particular type of compassionate care that addresses all the needs of a person who has a serious illness. The goal of hospice is to improve quality of life for both our patients and the family by providing patients with relief from symptoms, pain, and stress of the illness – whatever the diagnosis. In addition, hospice addresses the needs of the family and friends of the patient to the greatest extent possible so that all concerned can maintain dignity and quality of life. An important part of hospice is that patients and families help decide what care is right for them. A team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists work with the patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
As a hospice volunteer you play a large role in providing this “extra layer of support” to the patient and their loved ones. It is an honor and a privilege to be allowed into the home of people you have never met before and for them to allow you, a stranger, to become part of the most important journey in their life. Each one teaches you something. It never fails. They help prepare you for your journey.
I encourage those of you who have ever considered being a hospice volunteer to take that leap of faith and learn about the abundant “gifts” you will be graced with. This will be a new and extraordinary journey in your life. One you will not regret nor forget.
It may be a little intimidating, but those you meet will immediately put you at ease. You will love more deeply. Life’s experiences will come together like pieces of a puzzle.
- Dr. Skendzel was the recipient of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine – U.P. Campus Volunteer Faculty Teaching Award
- Local Clothing Boutique Donates to Lake Superior Hospice
- Michigan Governor Recognizes Contributions of Hospice and Palliative Care
- Lake Superior Hospice Medical Director, Dr. Larry Skendzel Awarded the HPCAM Dream Team – Physician Award
- Dr. Skendzel Selected for Donald W. Reynolds Mini-Fellowship