Volunteers share meaningful experiences with hospice friends

It's National Volunteer Month and Sanford's hospice volunteers shed light on how they impact patients and their families.

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — Volunteers across the world come in many shapes and sizes with varying skill sets.

During National Volunteer Month, Sanford is showing how important hospice volunteers are to families.

“We have companionship volunteers that go in and just provide comfort and visits to patients whether that’s playing cards with them or writing letters or just talking. We have respite volunteers and provide respite to families so they can get a little bit of a break from caregiving. We have veteran volunteers also that do pin ceremonies to honor our veterans that are on service with us,” says Anne Vig, Social Services Supervisor at Sanford Health.

Linda Bates has worked in the hospice program for about a year.

Patients and their families are extremely appreciative of her company, calling her a day-brightener.

Joe Noel’s wife, Yvonne, died in February but the memories live on.

“It’s hard to explain but Linda was just very kind and easy to visit with. That was the thing, she was very easy to visit with,” Noel said.

Bates takes care of her hospice friends by listening to people talk about their personal lives or teaching them how to knit among other activities.

“I have a friend who has since passed but he was a poet. My current friend through hospice likes poetry so every once in a while, I’ll bring over a poem to share with her and she seems to like that. She has a brother who’s a poet, we connected there,” Bates said.

The idea of losing a friend makes her feel down but she’s always learning about life experience with each patient.

“They seemed to have a reason to wake up every day and I really value that. All of them were hooked up to oxygen. So, they were pretty much homebound. I put myself in that situation and I just was so impressed with living life each day,” says Bates.

Bates says people are built to connect with one another and believes everyone should volunteer for their community.

“You’re missing out if you don’t. There are surprises and the other thing is, appreciation. I have never been so appreciated from the staff here, from my hospice friends who I visit. They’re all so grateful. I didn’t expect that when I got into it, it would give you a good feeling,” Bates said.

She says hearing people tell their stories make her tick and motivates her to provide the best comfort and relationships for her hospice friends.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News