My Experience Volunteering in Hospice

hannah-bondy-13372This is my first year volunteering as part of the Cicely Ambassador Program at Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care. It has been a very rewarding experience, knowing that I am making a difference. It is a commitment, but I know the patients can really use my company and it is always time well spent. Even though one (out of two) of my patients has barely seen my face, I know that she hears my voice. I finished reading Charlotte’s Web to my other patient who is also mostly non-responsive and the smile on her face told me that she was enjoying it. It was even more special because she is for the most part, non-communicative and doesn’t show much emotion.

Volunteering as a Cicely Ambassador touches the lives of those who are on their end-of-life journey. It makes such an impact, not only on the patient, but on their family and friends as well. Reading or playing a card game with a patient, gives them joy while they may be feeling down. Some patients just want someone who they can watch their favorite movie with. The last moments of a person’s life should be special and cherished, not easily forgotten. Volunteering in hospice can be life changing for anyone. I am honored and privileged to be part of the team.

Hannah B.
Cicely Ambassador 2016-2017

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Emmett Volunteer Crowned Miss Gem County

Congratulations to Cicely Ambassador, Abigail Besselievre, who was crowned Miss Gem County 2016 on June 13th, using her platform “Remember the Seniors” to promote bringing generations


Abigail Besselievre, Miss Gem County 2016 *Photo credit Janet Monti/Messenger Index

together as a united community.

Abigail has been a Cicely Volunteer with Heart ‘n Home since June 2015. The Cicely Program – named after the founder of the modern hospice movement, Cicely Saunders, is aimed at high school juniors and seniors.  The Cicely Ambassador Team was designed to:

  • Bridge the generational gap between youth and elderly.
  • Establish a commitment to life-long volunteerism.
  • Encourage community engagement.
  • Educate youth about end-of-life care.

“Being a Cicely Ambassador has changed my life for the better and has given me so many life-enriching experiences,” Abigail said. “I look forward to volunteering every week.”

Abigail is currently coordinating a senior recognition event at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Emmett as part of her senior project requirement for graduation. We appreciate all she does for Heart ‘n Home patients and for her community. Way to go, Abigail!

Hospice Volunteering: Love in Motion

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Hospice Volunteering: Love in Motion!

“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain love for one another.” -Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996

Erma Bombeck failed most of her college writing assignments, was rejected by the school newspaper, and dropped out after one semester because she couldn’t afford tuition. However, her passion for writing was so strong it led her to become one of America’s most popular authors. She published 15 books and some 30 million people across the U.S. and Canada read her columns twice a week in 900 newspapers. Her passion also led her to become a volunteer.

In 1978, Bombeck volunteered to serve on the Presidential Advisory Committee for Women, which was working on final implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment. She endured a lot of public criticism and some stores even stopped selling her books. Once again, she refused to give up and stayed on the committee.

It has been said that volunteers are “love in motion” and at Heart ‘n Home, we couldn’t agree more! Volunteering is a profound expression of love – love for others, love for life, love for community and country, and love for self. We see it every day, all day, as we interact with our Volunteers.

This month as you celebrate Valentine’s Day amid a flood of love songs on the radio and advertisements for cards, flowers, candy, and other trimmings, remember that at Heart ‘n Home, our business is all about love and our ability to spread that love around is made possible by Volunteers who, as important members of our care team, enable us to “affirm life by providing emotional, physical, and spiritual support to our patients and to those who love and care for them.” To us, a world without volunteers is just as unimaginable as a world without love.

Not long ago, a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer wrote that she “learned the meaning of joy” during one particular patient visit. Would you like to experience a love like that? You can! As a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer, you have endless possibilities and opportunities. Contact us about becoming a Volunteer. You’ll love it!

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Hospice Volunteer of the Month – December 2014

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Hospice Volunteer of the Month – December 2014
Brian Hohstadt – La Grande, Oregon

Brian has been volunteering with Heart ‘n Home since March. He is a wonderful Volunteer and had years of experience before coming to us. Most of Brian’s fondest childhood memories are of time spent with his grandparents growing up on a dairy farm, surrounded by animals. He was a candy striper at a small hospital as a teenager.  He has always had the desire to give time to the elderly in his community.

Brian’s beautiful French bulldog, Blake, is a certified pet therapy dog that accompanies him on his visits. Becoming a certified pet therapy team takes a lot of dedication and teamwork, but Brian and Blake have proven themselves to be an amazing team!

Brian and Blake are currently serving four Heart ‘n Home patients in La Grande. The joy that our patients get from having pet therapy (seeing Blake) is invaluable and makes Brian and Blake a wonderful addition to our Heart ‘n Home family.

The philosophy that Brian has about volunteering is truly inspiring. As he says, “I always hoped that at least one person in my life’s path would be thankful that I was here.  I know Blake is doing that, ten-fold, and I am there to support him, and to listen.  I am a good listener. As a team, I think we are making a difference.  When we enter a facility and are greeted with huge smiles, hugs, and ‘I was waiting for you to get here,’ that tells me my life has not been in vain.”

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