Working at Hospice a ‘privilege’

Working at Hospice a ‘privilege’11 Jul 2015

Hospice volunteer Jenny Rowden says it is an honour to spend time with patients and their families. Jenny Rowden has been a volunteer with Hospice Waikato for over 18 years.

At first it was as a bereavement support volunteer assisting the Family Services Team with remembrance services and family support, and now more recently as a volunteer receptionist and host in the Inpatient Unit. “I feel privileged to be a part of the team of nurses, doctors and healthcare assistants in the Inpatient Unit.

There is no logic why I have stayed this long but I still feel the same pull I did 18 years ago, that this is where I am meant to be,” says Jenny. Jenny does everything from answering the phone to making cups of tea for patients and their visitors. “Many people do not understand the extent of Hospice Waikato services and can be quite scared when they arrive. I had a friend who cried when he got here. He felt so at home and he had come here to die.” “The staff were so supportive and caring, and his wife really appreciated the medical, emotional and therapeutic support offered.” “Caring for those in the last stages of their lives is a privilege. It’s a very special time to be around someone who is dying, and provide support to their family,” says Jenny.

Hospice really is about living life to the fullest and maximizing quality of life for people. Many people come into the Inpatient Unit to receive symptom management or respite care for a couple of days and then go home feeling a lot better. “Some families only touch the surface of Hospice, but the ones that allow Hospice into their lives, I think it makes a real difference to their experience, for both them and their families,” says Jenny.

“I am so happy to be a volunteer at Hospice Waikato, the staff are so kind and caring and I think there is a lot of emphasis on recognising volunteer contributions,” she says. “Jenny is a superstar in our eyes, Hospice is so lucky to have such a dedicated and beautiful person as a volunteer on our team. It’s people like Jenny who help to make our patients and families feel at home and to make Hospice such a wonderful place,” says Karen Mansfield, Manager of Volunteer Services.