Questions about Hospice volunteer

  1. Hi everyone.

    I am close to to graduation with my LPN. It has come time for our Hospice volunteer rotation. I'm happy and scared at the same time.
    The instructors have been somewhat vague on what is expected as a volunteer. We have been told absolutely no medical treatment or helping with ADL's. We are just there to support them.

    I plan to go meet my new friend this weekend. My patient is aware of her diagnosis and prognosis. Any tips on what I can do to make sure all of my visits with her are pleasant? I'm just not sure (at all) what I can do.

    I'm a HUGE softy when it comes to the elderly and I become very attached. Lost my "Grammy", whom I was VERY close to. Alzheimers...such a mysterious disease.
    I find it beautiful and admirable that people are able to help others in their transition to move on. I don't have a problem with death. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of really. I guess it's a completely different territory for me and I don't like to walk into anything blind. Any suggestions?
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    About cjandmama

    Joined: Jan '04; Posts: 29
    Specialty: L&D, Postpartum

    3 Comments

  3. by   kaseysmom
    Quote from cjandmama
    Hi everyone.

    I am close to to graduation with my LPN. It has come time for our Hospice volunteer rotation. I'm happy and scared at the same time.
    The instructors have been somewhat vague on what is expected as a volunteer. We have been told absolutely no medical treatment or helping with ADL's. We are just there to support them.

    I plan to go meet my new friend this weekend. My patient is aware of her diagnosis and prognosis. Any tips on what I can do to make sure all of my visits with her are pleasant? I'm just not sure (at all) what I can do.

    I'm a HUGE softy when it comes to the elderly and I become very attached. Lost my "Grammy", whom I was VERY close to. Alzheimers...such a mysterious disease.
    I find it beautiful and admirable that people are able to help others in their transition to move on. I don't have a problem with death. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of really. I guess it's a completely different territory for me and I don't like to walk into anything blind. Any suggestions?
    I took care of two pts who were on hospice care in a LTC. I found it difficult to deal with the family more than anything else. This isn't true for ALL families - but this family in particular was either in denial about their fathers/loved ones condition - or had never been told. So, I had to pay close attention to what I said regarding his medical diagnoses and such. I think the specific instance was the daughter had asked me about his oxygen and I mentioned his COPD and she said "What's that?? Does he have that??". I felt terrible that she had never been told - and said that the nurse would be in to discuss it with her if shed like. Being a student it's hard because you're still not sure where your ground is when it comes to giving information. I think probably the best thing I did for that man was to sit and talk to him. He began to hallucinate towards the end due to all the meds (most hospice patients nearing the end who are in extreme pain are on roxanol/morphine) as well as several other meds - when he would direct communication towards me - and it would be off the wall - i agreed and talked him through it. It is hard to watch, but I think that every nurse should be able to be a part of someones passing. As sad as it is - and im not trying to be uncompassionate by any means - it's interesting. Anyhow, hope I helped in some way
  4. by   renerian
    I have been a hospice volunteer over 10 years. I am an RN and don't do any hands on care/different training /liability. I talk some and listen alot.......I have heard good things, bad things, sad things but alot of reflective thoughts.

    renerian
  5. by   cjandmama
    Thank you kaseysmom and renerian!
    My hopice rotation starts Feb 1st. I will follow and assist an RN all day.
    However, this week we were assigned a hospice pt to go see as a volunteer for 1 hour a week on our own time. Since I hadn't done any of my clinicals with hospice yet, I just wasn't sure. I figured I would just talk and listen, maybe read them a book they love or so forth.
    Thanks for your info I really appreciate it!

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