ROCKSPRINGS — Hospice is a charged word in our society, bringing to mind end of life, sadness, and the loss of hope that a loved one will survive their illness. The reality of the services that hospice provides is much greater.
The Health Technology students at Meigs High School were introduced to the full range of care that hospice provides during a presentation at the school on Friday, March 24.
Michelle Reven, Volunteer Coordinator for Medi Home Hospice presented a small seminar on hospice care, outlining the services that hospice provide. Students also participated in an activity designed to give them an idea of the losses that a chronically ill or terminally ill person loses over the course of their illness. Each student chose objects, people, experiences, and activities that are important to them. Over the course of a short tale placing the students in the shoes of a terminally ill person, they were required to give up one thing after another that make their lives richer and fuller. As an exercise in opening one’s eyes to the reality of the everyday effects of terminal illness and what patients lose over the course of their illness and treatment, it was incredibly effective.
Contrary to popular belief, hospice care is not necessarily only for patients who are nearing the end of their life. The truth, however, is that hospice can greatly improve the quality of life for those who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and are in need of the service. It is even possible for people to graduate from hospice care after experiencing a debilitating illness, if the care provided helps to improve their condition to a point where hospice is no longer necessary.
Besides medical needs, hospice also tends to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients. Volunteers may sit with patients, read to them, help to make audio or written journals, or simply provide company for a few hours. Chaplains are available to provide for spiritual needs. Volunteers are an integral part of a hospice program, from patient interactions to help with office work and fundraising.
If you are interested in volunteering with Medi Home Hospice, you may contact Michelle Reven, Volunteer Coordinator, toll-free at 1-800-533-5848.
Jessica Marcum is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.