April 15 – 21 is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize and celebrate the thousands of men, women, and young people who volunteer in communities across the country. I salute all those who give of their time and talents – particularly to people at the end of life’s journey.
Many people are unaware that volunteers provide more than 19 million hours of service through our nation’s hospices. That’s more than 430,000 people giving selflessly to support and care for patients and families. More than 1.6 million people received compassionate care from hospice last year and hospice volunteers are an integral part of the care team. Whether a volunteer is serving at the bedside, in the office, educating others, or raising awareness, they are the heart of hospice.
I’ve witnessed countless acts of compassion by our Volunteers, one in particular with my own family member that was on hospice. He was a Veteran and had a Veteran Volunteer present a certificate of service recognition. Watching an act such as this Veteran to Veteran resulted in a beautiful thing – and there was not one dry eye in the room.
There are people that mistakenly think hospice is about giving up – it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Hospice is about living as fully as possible, especially at the end of life. Because every moment matters. At the center of hospice is the belief that each person has the right to die free of pain and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so. I encourage others to learn more about volunteering in hospice.
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care