ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 16 – 22), a medical center in Escanaba is honoring the people who provide a priceless service for those seeking end-of-life care.
OSF HealthCare held a celebratory luncheon for its home care and hospice volunteers on Tuesday.
“[Volunteers] that go into the home, they can do light housekeeping, they can do dishes, they can assist them with getting their groceries,” said Rachael Latta, volunteer coordinator for OSF Hospice. “A lot of them just sit with the patients and provide respite to the family so they’re able to go out, run their errands, or just get away for lunch or something.”
OSF also has opportunities for those who want to volunteer but do not feel comfortable going into someone’s home.
“We have a group at a couple of the local churches that make quilts for all of our patients, they make rice bag hand warmers for all of our patients,” Latta explained. “We deliver cookies to all of our patients every holiday, and they come in and assist with some of the paperwork functions we need done in our office.”
Volunteers say they are grateful to be appreciated by OSF this Volunteer Week. However, volunteer Siri Sholten says the real reward is knowing she has provided comfort to hospice patients and their families.
“People know on some level that they’re going to die, but when somebody presents them with that final diagnosis it’s absolutely crushing,” said Sholten. “To have somebody that is there for you whether you’re having a good day or a bad day and to support your family and hold them together through the final process I think is very important.”
Latta says she works with volunteers to make sure each patient receives the best end-of-life care possible.
“Whether it be three days, three months, or three years, if you’re not seeking active treatment it really is a better quality of life to get treated at home symptomatically,” she said. “You can enjoy your time with your family and doing things that you love, as opposed to going in and out of doctor’s offices or hospitals.”
OSF HealthCare is in need of more hospice volunteers. The medical center also has volunteer opportunities in its gift shop, information desk, and Serenity Garden, as well as fundraising efforts. For more information on volunteering with OSF HealthCare, click here.