Mary Williams’ first experience with hospice was as a family member. She remembers feeling supported as she prepared her young daughters for what would be the first loss in their lives as their great-grandmother was dying.
Despite the impending loss, “It was a very positive experience,” Williams said.
The next time someone she knew experienced a loss, Williams found it easy to step into a supportive role, as she remembered the information and resources she received from hospice. She felt a calling to help others, so she searched online for the nearest hospice service. Williams found Samaritan North Lincoln Hospice, and her timing was perfect to take the annual volunteer training.
“I’ve learned so much through hospice,” Williams said. “It is perfect. I get to use my talents.”
Samaritan North Lincoln Hospice and Samaritan Pacific Hospice are again offering annual volunteer training in Lincoln City and Newport, beginning in March. Trained volunteers serve in many different roles to support patients and families.
Williams visits patients in their homes or in a care facility. One of the most meaningful experiences is when she can read to a patient. She also delivers prescriptions and makes bereavement calls to check on families.
Volunteers receive more than 20 hours of annual training. The volunteer coordinator matches her with situations she feels most comfortable in.
“I feel really supported being a volunteer,” Williams said.
She also feels like an important part of the hospice care team.
“We’re an extra set of eyes and ears for the nurses, social workers and chaplains,” Williams said.
Sherrie Flinn, hospice volunteer coordinator for Lincoln City and Newport, said she is grateful for volunteers who help during a sad time in people’s lives.
“Lincoln County is a rural community,” Flinn said. “I feel we have a responsibility to take care of our neighbors.”
When someone is sick, family and friends want to take care of their loved one, but often they need a break to take care of themselves. Hospice volunteers are trained to step in.
“We need your help here at hospice,” Flinn said.
Veterans and people from smaller outlying communities including Beaver, Rose Lodge, Siletz, Logsden, Blodgett and Yachats are particularly sought. Most volunteers work an hour a week, and up to four hours if they want to be more involved. Through actions big and small, the effect volunteers have when someone is going through a difficult time is unmistakable.
“It’s just a beautiful thing,” Flinn said. “I believe that we all want to find purpose in our lives and sometimes that overflows into the lives of others. That is why we keep doing what we do.”
Hospice Volunteer Training
Attend a free course that provides you with the tools to support patients and families in Lincoln County as a hospice volunteer. Hospice volunteer training begins March 9 in Lincoln City and March 27 in Newport. To register, contact hospice volunteer coordinator Sherrie Flinn at 541-996-7328.