Crossroads Hospice Intern Abby Bridge of Huber Heights, OH decided she wanted to volunteer in hospice when she was a teenager.
"When I was 15 years old, my dad was ill with prostate cancer," she shares. "I remember that people that came out from hospice were really kind to the family and took care of business. I always said that when I grew up I wanted to work with a hospice at some level."
Fast forward five years, and Bridge was working in human services: "I knew I needed to go back to school so I could work on a different level." That different level would come from the experience she gained with her hospice volunteer duties.
Volunteering at a Hospice
In her final year as a Phoenix University student, Bridge needed an internship to complete her bachelor's degree. "When I called Crossroads Hospice, everything clicked," she remembers.
"[Volunteer Manager] Doree Martin was so welcoming and invited me to join the team."
"Even though I was familiar with hospice, I've learned so much more about what a hospice does. I knew they came out and spent time with the individual, but I didn't realize there were programs like the Gift of a Day and Veteran Recognition ceremonies. Each hospice varies, and I was amazed at all that Crossroads offers."
It was her volunteer duties that allowed Bridge to see the ins and outs of hospice care, from what a social worker does to what tasks a nurse performs. "I've been grateful to the team at Crossroads for allowing me to see the whole spectrum of what they do. Even my professors are impressed with how much I've been able to learn about the various parts of hospice care."
Treating Patients as Individuals
"The most moving day for me was when I learned that Crossroads Hospice serves all ages,” says Bridge. “I was able to be a part of a care conference for one of our younger patients. It never hit me that younger patients also need hospice care.”
She explains: “The team was committed to providing age-appropriate care and treating her as a person, not just a patient. They talked about her symptoms and their progression, but also talked about the good stuff: the friendly people around her, that she liked baseball. The team focused on the entire spectrum of what was going on with her."
Being a Part of the Family
In some organizations, a volunteer might help perform very simple tasks and leave the volunteer or internship position with some basic administrative skills. What hospice volunteers do is contribute to a larger team, full of compassionate people who work well with each other because they treat their peers with a great amount of dignity and respect.
As Bridge describes it, "Crossroads feels like a family unit, not a work unit. Everyone has each other's backs. It's an awesome atmosphere. I would like to say thank you to all the people who allowed me to volunteer my time with Crossroads. Without them, I wouldn't have the knowledge I have now."
To learn more about interning with Crossroads Hospice, complete a Volunteer Application or call 1-888-564-3405 to speak with a Volunteer Manager.
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