Silverado Hospice Volunteers
By Nancy Hanahan, Director of Volunteer Services, Silverado Hospice Orange County
As Director of Volunteer Services for Silverado Hospice in Orange County, I am privileged to work with some of the most wonderful people in the world. Hospice volunteers spend precious time with our patients and families. They are men and women who come from many backgrounds and cultures, yet they all have something in common. Each of the volunteers has a loving heart and a compassionate soul. Each of them wants to make a difference to someone who is journeying to the end of life.
Kathy and her dog, Buffy, brighten a patient’s day with Kathy’s friendly personality and Buffy’s unconditional love.
Ron is an LAPD patrolman who spends part of his day off staying with a patient for a while so the caregiver can run her errands.
Barbara likes to bake yummy cupcakes especially to celebrate her patient’s 84th birthday.
Another volunteer spends time reading works of Robert Louis Stevenson to one of our hospice patients - allowing her to practice her English and providing him a sense of familiarity by listening to stories by a long-loved author.
I often tell a new volunteer that he or she will be the last new friend that the patient will make and they this as a profound honor.
One of our seasoned volunteers, named Linda told me a story about her special relationship with her patient. Linda was leaving the patient’s apartment in an assisted-living facility just as the patient’s telephone rang. She waved goodbye but before she got to the door, she overheard the patient explain to the caller, “Linda is leaving. She used to be my volunteer and now she’s my friend.”
Hospice volunteers are amazing and inspirational. They give of themselves over and over again. They have a great impact on the care of patients. They know that hospice is about living, not dying. The only rewards they receive are the rewards of the heart. Maybe those rewards are the best of all!