Hospice volunteers are an essential part of our team. They are specially trained individuals, who provide assistance to patients, their families and the hospice team. They do not provide direct patient care, such as give medications or make medical decisions, but as an invaluable resource, they bring a friendly smile, warm conversation, a hand to hold or or welcome respite for a family. During National Volunteer Week 2018 it is our pleasure to highlight a few of our local Indianapolis hospice volunteers.
Meet Paradigm Living Concepts Volunteer Melissa Hillman
Melissa visits patients along with her 12 year old Labrador Retriever, Cash. He is a very calm dog who likes to interact with people. His coat is very soft….especially his ears….and the patients enjoy petting him. As patients interact with her fur buddy, Melissa talks to them about various things and tries to get them to smile.
“I volunteer with Paradigm Living Concepts hospice patients for a couple of reasons. Both of my parents spent their last days in a hospice program. I first learned about hospice during nursing school and while my mother was dying from cancer. When I went into nursing school, I thought I wanted to work in labor and delivery, but during my education, I found myself drawn to the elderly population and the hospice program. Through the experience I had with my parents, I learned how wonderful the hospice program is in supporting patients and their families,” says Melissa. Her favorite thing about volunteering with Paradigm Living Concepts is to seeing the faces of patients light up when they see she’s brought a special four-legged friend to visit them.
Meet Paradigm Living Concepts Volunteer Haley Welch
Haley is a senior Neuroscience major in her undergraduate career at IUPUI. She plays a few instruments, as well as, writes and reads a lot. Additionally, she is a distance runner on IUPUI’s track and field team.
She got into volunteering purely by accident, when she saw a post on IUPUI’s weekly volunteer newsletter and was immediately interested. “I like volunteering because it helps remind me that the world is so much bigger than our own individual perceptions of it, and it is a constant reminder that human connection is necessary to help people find meaning throughout their lives,” says Haley. “I love meeting new people and hearing stories. When I volunteer, I like to play the music the patients like, get them outside and just get them to do things out of their normal routine.”
Meet Paradigm Living Concepts Volunteers The Helder Family
The Helder family just started volunteering with Paradigm Living Concepts last summer. They wanted to do local volunteer work where the whole family could be a part of it.
“I’ve been wanting to give more to those in need whether that be the elderly or children for years, but I just didn’t know where to start. Once I had children I decided I was going to just make it happen,” says Lauren Helder. “We’ve really enjoyed spending time with our hospice patient. It feels really good to give back and for our kids to be a part of it.”
With the Helder family’s first hospice patient – a gentleman, their kids would pass out cookies to all the others that lived in the nursing home as well. They would bring him chocolate shakes (his favorite) and sit and talk to him. Often there wasn’t much to say, but they could tell it still meant a lot they were there.
Meet Paradigm Living Concepts Volunteer Sarah Erb
Sarah is a graduate of Indiana University – Bloomington and 5 year employee at Eli Lilly and Company. Outside of her technical career, she is active in her community HOA President, volunteer with Second Helpings and has founded a Scuba Diving Club.
At Paradigm Living Concepts, Sarah volunteers with her 3-year-old Golden Retriever, Yoshi.
Meet Paradigm Living Concepts Volunteer Cindy Utley
Cindy is a senior Education Analyst for Ascension Health and has been working in the field of Education and Training for over 20 years, including as an Art Teacher and EMR Trainer for doctors and nurses.
With her three children grown and onto adventures of their own now, Cindy and her husband enjoy traveling and Sunday brunch. She also enjoys creating art, calligraphy and volunteering with Paradigm Living Concepts.
*Feature picture with this blog is Sarah Erb and Yoshi.