As part of National Volunteer Month, Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio is recognizing and celebrating its volunteers who have served the not-for-profit hospice. Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio is celebrating 40 years of service to the community this year. Since 1982, Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio has been honored and privileged to provide care for thousands of patients and their families facing a life-limiting illness or injury.
During the past 40 years, Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio volunteers have provided a variety of services throughout the community. Visiting with patients, delivering supplies, assisting with office duties, and creating handmade items of comfort and support for patients and their families are just a few ways volunteers donate their time. As part of the American Pride® Veteran Care by Ohio’s Hospice program, Veteran volunteers honor Veteran patients by celebrating and thanking them for their service.
“As Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio celebrates its 40th year of caring for patients and their families, we celebrate the vast and diverse creative spirit that embodies how we support the people who come to us at such a fragile and poignant time in their lives,” said Liz Adamshick, manager of Volunteer Services at Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio. “What began in 1982 as a gathering of nine community members in Newark, Ohio, motivated by compassionate determination, has expanded across nine counties in central Ohio.”
The volunteer team continues to anchor the profoundly life-changing work at Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio. They work shoulder to shoulder with their paid staff counterparts to care for people who are in essence writing the final chapters of their lives.
“They give their time visiting patients, offering caregivers a much-needed break and keep our office support systems running smoothly,” Adamshick said. “They are also some of the best ambassadors we could hope for, inviting the community to invest in our mission and educating them about the difference our team makes every day.”
One example of how volunteers make a difference is the Handmade Items Team. Through the talent and efforts of this team, volunteers make a variety of items designed to bring beauty, comfort and dignity to patients and their families. One item, a comfort square, offers an especially touching element of support.
“It’s a simple concept, really,” Adamshick said about the comfort squares. “A nine-inch quilted square, soft and soothing, is offered to a patient with a bit of brief prose on an attached notecard, inviting them to symbolically place their troubles on the square so the patient can get some sleep.”
Adamshick shared how the comfort squares made a difference in the life of one family. As a mother was losing her son, the comfort square was wrapped around his wrist. She brought his hand to her forehead as she wept. Family members also place the square over their loved one’s heart, as if to catch those final heartbeats, giving them a treasured keepsake that they’ll cherish forever.
“The comfort squares give our families something tangible to take home with them after a difficult and emotional goodbye,” Adamshick said. “There are no words to describe how meaningful that is to families.”
Working primarily from their homes, the Handmade Items Team members keep inventory well-stocked and readily available for Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio patients. Items offered include:
- Hand grips to help patients who have contractures.
- Positioning pillows to help reposition bed-bound or chair-bound patients and reduce the risk of pressure sores and stiff muscles.
- Lap quilts.
- Catheter bag covers, which offer dignity to a patient while visiting with family and friends.
- Shirt savers to help patients who need assistance with feeding, keeping their clothes clean during meals.
- Gowns, which help soften the appearance for family members of their loved ones being ill or infirm.
- Activity blankets that provide patients with dementia a soft alternative to agitation, allowing them to keep their hands busy, thus reducing the likelihood of wandering or becoming combative.
- Patriotic-themed quilts which are presented to Veteran patients and their families during recognition ceremonies to honor them for their service.
“Quite often, some of these items provide pain relief and symptom management that delays or eliminates the need for narcotic and other pharmaceutical interventions,” Adamshick said. “This allows patients to rest comfortably and enables family members to interact with loved ones who are more alert.”
Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio is grateful to the volunteers who have given of their time and skills so selflessly for the past 40 years. “We thank them for their dedication to our mission,” Adamshick said. “A tender hum holds this compassionate enterprise together and is ready to step into our next 40 years.”
For those in the community who would like to learn more about volunteering with Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, please visit: www.HospiceofCentralOhio.org/Volunteers/ or call Volunteer Services at 740.788.1404.
Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, an affiliate of Ohio’s Hospice, has provided a holistic, community-based approach to hospice care since 1982. With locations in Newark, Columbus, Lancaster and Zanesville, the not-for-profit organization serves nine counties in central Ohio and is dedicated to supporting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses. In addition, two inpatient care centers at Licking Memorial Hospital and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are available for symptom management.