Hosparus Health was started by volunteers more than 40 years ago. They believed then, as we do now, that everyone deserves a peaceful ending. Today, volunteers still play a vital role in how we deliver compassionate hospice and palliative care.
We recently sat down with Southwest Community Volunteer Manager Sylvia M. Johnson to talk about what volunteers mean to Hosparus Health.
Q: Why are volunteers so important?
A: Our goal is to improve the quality of life for our patients. Our wonderful staff takes care of their clinical needs, but there are often emotional needs, social needs, general household needs that they are unable to meet because of their condition. Volunteers are important because they help patients maintain their quality of life by supporting them in those areas.
If you need assistance cleaning your home; if you used to read, but your eyesight is diminished now; if you’re alone and you just want someone to talk to or need help with correspondence; if you used to love watching old westerns with your friends and want someone to watch a movie with you – to have a volunteer who is willing to support you in that way, it makes a world of difference in your overall wellbeing.
Q: Who should be a volunteer?
A: I think the person who makes a good volunteer is a person who can take a couple of hours out of their week and give it to someone else. Any man or woman here in the community that looks around a says, “I want do something for someone else,” is an ideal candidate to be a volunteer for Hosparus Health.
After patients have passed, we get letters, words of gratitude and thanks from family members who tell us that that little bit of time meant so much. Any person can do it.
Q: Do you have to have a special skill set?
A: The only special skill you need is to have some compassion. You don’t need special talents and there are no special education requirements. You just have to be one human being that can connect with another human being.
But if you are talented in multiple areas, we’ll take you, too! If you play music or are licensed in specific areas like massage therapy, pet therapy, hair care – these specialty volunteers make a world of difference in the lives of the patients. If you have history as a veteran, we have a number of patients that like to have that veteran-to-veteran connection.
Q: What would you say to others about the care that Hosparus Health offers through the volunteers?
A: They care that we offer through our volunteers is patient driven. The volunteer’s purpose is to help fill the needs that were determined by that patient or family. It’s about their goals. The volunteer helps each patient and family they serve through a difficult period in their life that they may not have wanted to face. They become a source of support during that time. It does not take a lot to give, it just takes a heart to give.
Q: What does working as Volunteer Manager mean to you?
A: I see patients every day that are living their life to the fullest. They are doing the best that they can; they are moving forward with hope and with support and love, and it makes every day worth coming to work.
Q: How can people get involved?
A: If you’re interested in volunteering, you can fill out a volunteer application on our website, and we will contact you to set up a free training. We’ll set you up in the areas where you want to serve.
To fill out an application, click here. Please consider giving the gift of your time.