Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 18, 2013

Hospice work from the heart

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — Their work is straight from the heart for a group of volunteers offering whatever they can to help terminally ill patients.

These volunteers represent the heart and soul of Valley Hospice, says volunteers coordinator Connie Wright of Pauls Valley General Hospital.

Wright is among the many offering a big salute to the hospice and palliative care volunteers she works with at the hospital as another national hospice volunteer week has rolled around.

“We couldn’t even have a hospice without volunteers,” Wright said.

“They are the heart of hospice.”

Donna Sharp, case manager nurse for Valley Hospice, agrees.

“We wouldn’t have the reputation we have without these volunteers,” Sharp said.

The reputation Sharp is referring to is for the quality of care provided as volunteers do everything from the basic comforting of patients to those little things that offer a nice touch, like making birthday cakes or quilts to doing a patient’s nails.

It goes even further as the volunteers offer the services to individuals and even all the residents of a nursing home, even those not signed up with Valley Hospice.

“Hospice volunteers find a unique way to comfort the loved one in their care,” Wright says.

“They comfort with their laughter, listening while patients tell stories about their lives and they comfort with their strengthening faith; sharing love and giving hope can light up the world,” she said.

“Our volunteers light up lives of patients with life-limiting illnesses, giving them strength and bonding with their love.”

During a recent gathering many of those volunteers came together in Pauls Valley for an honor meant just for them.

They include Jana Parks, Nita Jarman, Margie Chishom, Pearl Mathis, Barbara Root, Ray Robbins, Mary Jane Lyon, Lou Moody, June Pearson and Lucille Ensey, along with others not able to attend the special luncheon.

For these volunteers the work they do is a personal thing.

“They gave so much relief to my husband,” Barbara Root said about the hospice care he received before his passing several years ago.

“So I do it to give back.”

Root, who lives in the Elmore City area, said she no longer sits with hospice patients but instead does other things to help like make quilts.

“I’m just returning the favor,” said Ray Robbins.

Robbins said it was Valley Hospice who provided services to his wife during her illness. After her passing nearly two years ago he was asked if he would be interested in being a hospice volunteer.

He said yes and now does a variety of things to help patients.

“I really enjoy it,” Robbins said. “A lot of it helps me deal with the loss of my wife.”

June Pearson said it’s a real sense of “satisfaction” she gets from her time as a hospice volunteer.

“It makes you feel like you’ve done something good,” Pearson said.

“It’s a blessing. You get more out of it than they do,” she said, referring to patients.

Wright again puts the spotlight back on volunteers for the service they provide on their own time.

“I want to say thank you for the unselfish work and time you give to bring comfort, compassion and love to hospice patients as you take time in your lives to make a difference in others,” she said.

“You are truly our hospice angels.”