With Heart ‘n Home’s commitment to the wholeness of each patient, Volunteers are a valuable part of the team. While our Nurses and CNAs address all aspects of the patient – they focus primarily on the physical symptoms. The Social Workers, Spiritual Care Providers, and Volunteers address the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient. Although the Social Workers and Spiritual Care Providers are the specialists, I like to think of Volunteers as the generalists who so easily meet patient’s needs, often without seeing how effective they are.
All of us have the same ultimate goal for the patient: that they may die a good death, peacefully and pain-free. Each of us plays a part in the journey to help them achieve that goal. Volunteers may unconsciously help the patient move from pain to comfort and onto that goal of peace through the tasks provided and interactions they have with patients and family members.
Meaninglessness and lack of purpose can cause a patient great spiritual pain as they lose their independence and feel as if they are a burden on others. Volunteers help by listening to their patients’ process what’s bothering them and letting them feel heard by someone who is compassionate. Spiritual pain of relatedness can be diminished through connections with Volunteers and can make a patient feel valued. The trust that develops between patients and their Volunteers can help them overcome feelings of hopelessness and to experience the unconditional acceptance of people who are just there because they care.
Everybody wants to be seen, heard, and to feel valued and Volunteers are experts at each of these. Having those needs met brings spiritual relief and comfort. Patients often tell me what their volunteer does and how much they look forward to those visits. Volunteers provide more than visits and tasks; what they do is therapeutic and contributes to the efforts of the rest of the team. It takes the whole team to meet the whole needs of the patients. Together we help patients and their families get the most out of each day and die a good and peaceful death.
Spiritual Care Provider Coach
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC