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Hospice volunteer says supporting patients and families is rewarding work

‘Giving of yourself’

Louise Spencer has been a Heritage Hospice volunteer for about six years. She has one day a week in her busy schedule that she devotes to office work at hospice — she’s also working toward her doctorate at Asbury College and is pastor of Wayman Chapel A.M.E. Church, Barbourville.

Spencer lives in Harrodsburg and says being a hospice volunteer is important to her because the patients and any family members they have are in need.

“It’s a worthy cause — giving of yourself to help others,” she said. “And they help you too. … I think it’s rewarding, especially if the family is involved.”

Spencer said when she’s sitting beside someone who is at their most vulnerable, they often “open up to you,” and share stories and memories.

“It’s an intimate time. They share things with you.” 

Many volunteers aren’t comfortable working one-on-one in such a personal setting, she said. But they can help in many other ways. For example, Spencer has volunteered with hospice clients in their homes. But now she works in the office conducting satisfaction patient phone surveys. She talks with caregivers and fills out the paperwork with their answers and opinions concerning hospice’s level of care.

Every volunteer doesn’t need to spend an entire work day volunteering, she said. Many volunteers spend just one hour a week or a few hours a month filing charts, answering phones, addressing envelopes and filling out paperwork. Other volunteers work solely with the annual Heritage Hospice Veterans Day Luncheon, Tea and Treasure fundraiser, Celebration of Life programs and at community awareness events.

Working in the office setting may not feel rewarding to Spencer, “but it does have its merits,” she said. Supporting hospice staff and the organization, which do such meaningful work for end of life care, is very important, she said.

“You have to talk about death at hospice,” Spencer says. “Hospice is coming along beside you … I think hospice does a great job doing that — coming along beside the family.”

SO YOU KNOW

Heritage Hospice Inc. will host a Volunteer Training Session Saturday, March 14,

from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Heritage Hospice Office at 120 Enterprise Drive

in Danville. Volunteers can assist with clerical work, fundraising, music, patient

care, bereavement and special projects. To register, call Volunteer Services at (859) 236-2425. Registration ends March 6.