Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Qualities of a Casa de la Luz Hospice Volunteer

Casa de la Luz Hospice is fortunate to have a strong base of amazing volunteers.  Many of our volunteers have come to us because they have experienced hospice care themselves or have heard about the superior care provided to a co-worker, friend, or neighbor.  Most individuals come with a good understanding of hospice services, although, this is certainly not a requirement. They simply need to have the heart to do the work, along with some other important qualities.

Casa volunteers follow the “Companionship Model.”  Companionship is defined by words such as fellowship, relationship, accompaniment, and “the state of being with someone.”  Our volunteers are trained to “be with” our patients and families.  In a fast paced and busy world, it can be a challenge to simply “be.”
The qualities needed in order to provide a superior hospice volunteer experience for patients and their families are:

An engaged heart – We have one chance to serve our patients.  Simply going through the motions specifically for one’s personal needs, like completing a special project or crossing a task off a list, will not suffice.  The heart must truly be engaged with the sincere and genuine desire to serve others. 

Flexibility – Things happen quickly on hospice, and there are no crystal balls to help us determine the future.  Our volunteers must be able to “go with the flow” when things don’t play out exactly as they had thought or hoped that they would. The anticipation of a new assignment or a visit on a particular day can change in a heartbeat. 

Communication – An awareness of one’s own communication style is critical.  Some patients love to visit; others need to sit in stillness and be quiet.  Our volunteers need to be comfortable in either situation.  They need to know when to talk and when to listen and always allow the patient to direct a visit.  Communicating with other hospice team members on a regular basis is important.

Commitment – Our patients come to rely on and enjoy weekly visits from our volunteers.  Life has many twists and turns and can be busy at times.  The volunteer must be able to commit 1-2 hours per week to their volunteering.  A commitment based on faith and trust in our organization is a must. The volunteer’s commitment is a part of the hospice’s greater promise to provide a patient and their loved ones with superior care.

Being agenda free – Visits are about the patients and not about one’s own self.  It is important that our volunteers keep themselves “in check” before walking through the patient’s doorway.  The things that we value most can be considered agendas when we feel the need to impose them on others.  Allowing the patient to lead every visit serves the patient best and allows them to maintain a sense of comfort, dignity, and harmony.

Casa volunteers tell us they are honored when allowed the opportunity to spend time with our patients and families.  We believe that volunteers are special friends for a season during a very sacred time.  Our volunteers say that they get more out of this experience than they give.  They find the work to be incredibly meaningful and often say that they are learning a lot about themselves.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with Casa de la Luz Hospice, visit our Volunteers page, call us at 520-544-9890, or send us an e-mail. 

By Cindy Motz, Volunteer Coordinator

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