Caris Healthcare provided services to a patient who was a professor prior to his retirement. His career led him to Thailand and he spoke fluent Thai. When Caris Social Worker Dana Hays met with the patient for the first time, he spoke endearingly about his time abroad. As Caris staff does on every initial visit, Dana asked, “What are the three most important things I need to know about you in order to provide excellent care?” Dana was not surprised when the patient said his fondest memories were left in Thailand. He enjoyed reminders of his life there, but they did not happen often.
When the Caris interdisciplinary team collaborated about this new patient and his care needs, Volunteer Coordinator Amy Flora informed the team of a newly recruited veteran volunteer. This veteran served in the U.S. Army and also spent time in Thailand. Thrilled about the coincidence, the Caris team scheduled a visit between this patient and the veteran volunteer. To the patient’s surprise, the volunteer introduced himself in Thai. The patient’s demeanor completely changed. The Caris veteran volunteer and the Caris patient exchanged stories about Thailand in Thai. The patient’s face brightened into a broad smile as he reflected on his most cherished memories. This small, but meaningful encounter shows how hospice care not only ministers to the body, but to the mind and spirit as well.
There are hundreds of quality volunteer opportunities in every community. Few of them compare to the sheer joy you feel, the impact you can have and the personal growth you experience when you become a hospice volunteer at Caris Healthcare. Anyone with a caring heart and a little time to share can become a hospice volunteer. Caris Healthcare volunteers come from all walks of life and bring a wide variety of interests and life experiences. Your unique interest could be exactly what someone who is facing the end-of-life needs for support and comfort.