I'm a hospice volunteer who offers companionship and support to patients, but I felt anxious about visiting a hospice patient with memory loss. Would I make a connection that could provide comfort? Donna became my first teacher.
Donna, not her real name, was in her 70s, living in a nursing home, with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. She appeared short with a slight frame. She sat in a reclining chair in the television room, which was sparsely decorated. She had pads on her hands to keep from scratching her skin.
Just over two years ago, a young mother arrived at our Barrington CareCenter to receive end-of-life care. One of her final wishes was to create some memories with her young daughter during her very limited time left.
One request was to have a final “spa day” together. After contacting multiple local salons to assist with this very special request, Spa Bleu quickly returned the call to say they would love to offer their services for no charge and make her wish a reality. This began our amazing partnership with Spa Bleu.
My name is Colleen and this is my buddy Patches. We have the privilege of visiting JourneyCare’s Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter in Glenview as pet therapy dogs. We try to provide some comfort, companionship, physical contact and stress relief for hospice and palliative care patients, their families and visitors. Did you know that by giving patients and families something to look forward to, our visits can help improve their quality of life?
Looking to start 2018 off right? Become a JourneyCare volunteer!
Did you know Medicare requires that 5% of all patient care hours be provided by volunteers? JourneyCare is seeking volunteers to support patients, families, and staff so that, together, we can enrich lives through expert and compassionate care. Volunteers are an essential part of our team’s success!
I first met Robin, a 53-year-old ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) patient, when JourneyCare began caring for her about two years ago. I was welcomed in Robin’s home to make weekly visits. I instantly hit it off with Robin and always look forward to my weekly visits with her.
A nurse by trade long retired, I missed that special contact caregivers have with their patients. So when I heard of JourneyCare’s CNA Assist program ̶ to partner closely with certified nursing assistants to care for hospice patients ̶ I signed up immediately. From my very first shadow shift, I knew I had made the right choice.
I have the privilege of comforting patients with my presence, my skills and the assistance of a supportive staff from whom I learn something new every time I volunteer.
This year Linda celebrates 50 years as a registered nurse. Retired from active practice, Linda has since acquired two certifications in Emergency Management and maintains her CPR instructor status teaching the staff at Northwest Community Hospital. Linda also sits on the JourneyCare Volunteer Advisory Council, represents the volunteer department at the Amber IDT and serves as camp nurse for Camp Courage.
Rick Davis is a graduate of Purdue University who has lived in Evanston for 40 years. He is a retired Registered Representative who worked in financial services. Davis served four years in the Marine Corps, including two tours in the Vietnam War. He is married to his high school sweetheart and they have been together more than 50 years. Some of his past volunteer work includes participation in the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum's educational outreach program. Here he shared with high school and college students of American history what it was like to be in a combat zone in Vietnam as a 20-year-old – a talk he has given to more than 25,000 people. He is a contributor to the book “Once a Marine” by Claude DeShazo, a collection of stories by veterans about how their Marine Corps experience impacted their lives.
In addition to his volunteer work at the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, Davis has been a civic volunteer for Heifer International, promoting the humanitarian work of this nonprofit organization. He led discussion groups for the Northwest Earth Institute, educating others on issues surrounding the environment. He has also been a supporter of America Saves, a campaign to encourage people to return to those long forgotten habits of frugality, thrift, moderation, self-discipline, delayed gratification and patience. He has also volunteered at the Presbyterian Retirement Home in Evanston, as well as Hillside Food Pantry.
Rick and his wife, Sheila, have traveled to more than 20 countries. They have hiked the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, Pyrenees, Andes and Himalayas. They have seen the King of Bhutan and King of Cambodia. The duo has traveled up the Mekong Delta to Angkor Wat, sailed up the Nile in Egypt, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and hiked through Tuscany, and explored Patagonia. A highlight of their travels was climbing Mt. Killimanjaro and then experiencing an African safari on the Serengeti.
As a Marine veteran who served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War, I’m well-aware of the sacrifices our men and women make to serve their country in the armed forces. And as a hospice volunteer who works primarily with veterans, I’m able to express my gratitude to veterans for their service in multiple ways.
Time visiting with a veteran and his or her family ̶ the sharing of stories and experiences ̶ are some of the most precious moments in my life. The Marine Corps motto is Semper Fi, meaning always faithful to God, country, and your fellow marine. Well, JourneyCare's volunteer program enables me to carry out that mission not only to other marines but to all veterans.
My beloved late husband, who died November 11, 2014, was in the care of JourneyCare in our home for the last four days of his life. Coming from Serbia, neither one of us knew much about this health service, except that we were both scared by the word “hospice!” We associated it with the end of life and we were both horrified.
“Please don’t mention the word hospice,” I begged a social worker, who later helped both of us a great deal. “No worries, nobody likes that word,” she told me with a hug like a sister, and sympathy deep in her eyes.