Hospice volunteer training creates new friendships, next training date set

Shelly Haberman
Hospice volunteers

For Nan Amend and Joyce Jaeger, they could have never imagined that a training session to become Agnesian HealthCare Hospice Hope volunteers would lead to a wonderful friendship.

More than 18 years ago, Amend, of Montello, responded to a newspaper article, while Jaeger, of Neshkoro, was looking for gratifying volunteer work and knew a friend who was a hospice volunteer. Throughout the years, both volunteers have provided companionship to patients and families, as well as 11th hour vigils and non-direct patient care areas.

“I so appreciate having the pleasure of meeting the patient and their families,” says Jaeger. “You know that they appreciate you being there and look forward to your visits. Each assignment is so different. It is very interesting getting to know them and getting to know the best way to connect with them. Learning from their life experiences and all they have experienced in their lifetime.”

Hospice Hope offices in Fond du Lac and Green Lake office are currently looking for more volunteers to assist patients and their families. Volunteers are placed in their own geographic areas. Hospice Hope is currently in need of volunteers to help with companionship, pet therapy, veteran program and non-direct patient care.

During their time with Hospice Hope, both volunteers have already accumulated many wonderful memories.

“During an 11th hour assignment I got the opportunity to be there for someone who had no one else,” Amend recalls. “I am grateful that I was able to be there with him, so he did not have to be alone during his final hours.”

For Jaeger, her experiences are very similar. “I remember visiting a 102-year-old man who was always sleeping, so I would leave him a note that the facility staff would read to him later on. One day he asked them to tell me to wake him up when I came, so I did. From that moment on, we got to enjoy many long conversations and looked forward to the weekly visits.”

It is without hesitation that both volunteers would encourage others to follow this same path.

“Try it,” Amend says. “It is not difficult to sit with people who are in their end of life journey. You can do it. It is so gratifying. You will have the privilege of getting to know them. You will feel blessed.”

Agnesian HealthCare Hospice Hope provides an extensive training program designed to equip volunteers for the varied types of service.

The next training session is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20 at Ripon Medical Center, 845 Parkside Street in Ripon. Application and interview must be completed prior to the class.

For more information, call Betty Walleser, Hospice Hope volunteer coordinator, at (920) 294-6220 (walleserb@agnesian.com).

Hospice offers a supportive, palliative (comfort versus cure) and compassionate care program to patients who have a life-threatening illness, and do not want, or cannot proceed with, aggressive curative treatment. Hospice Hope care offers a team of caring people trained to meet the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of patients who have a limited life expectancy, as well as the needs of their families and caregivers. There are as many volunteer opportunities as there are individual preferences for service!

If you have the desire to help others, the willingness to share your time and talents, want to grow personally, and give something back to your community, consider becoming an Agnesian HealthCare Hospice Hope volunteer.

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