Hospice of Michigan Volunteers Find Comfort in Patient Companionship

New volunteers are needed in the Traverse City area

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (May 22, 2018) – Volunteering is inherently selfless, but Hospice of Michigan volunteers share the many personal benefits and gratifying experiences they enjoy from helping those in need – often by simply taking time to chat with them. Hospice of Michigan is currently seeking new patient companions for Traverse City and the surrounding communities where – like many other, particularly rural, areas – the patient census is increasing. Patient companions provide socialization and companionship to Hospice of Michigan patients, and relief for their caregivers, through activities such as playing cards, listening to music or having conversations. Those with pets are also encouraged to donate their time via the pet therapy program.

All volunteers receive training, with the next session scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, June 8 at 10850 E. Traverse Hwy. in Traverse City.

Cyn Flynn, of Traverse City, began volunteering in the Traverse City and Suttons Bay area with the nonprofit hospice after her parents were both served by the organization. From that experience, Flynn found purpose in her work as a patient companion – though she certainly doesn’t consider it work. “Before I began, I’m not sure I understood how gratifying patient visits can truly be,” Flynn remarked. “I knew the patients would enjoy my company, but I didn’t really grasp how much these visits would mean to me personally.” Flynn’s notable patient stories include reading three Western novels aloud to a patient by his favorite author, Louis L’Amour. She also shared her grandmother’s cherished china set with a patient who loved drinking tea. Flynn even witnessed the reconciliation of a mother and her estranged son before the mother’s passing. Flynn looks back on these visits quite fondly. “I have so many memorable experiences; every patient I’ve met with has been so unique and wonderful in their own way.”

Flynn credits Hospice of Michigan’s volunteer managers with doing a great job of matching up patients and volunteers based on shared interests. Her chief advice to anyone on the fence about volunteering is to “at least take the training to actually learn what it involves. Many people have misconceptions about patient companionship and the training will clear that up.” Though she generally provides patient companionship, Flynn is always open to opportunities to help out. “I’ve had so many tender moments with people who’ve had a family member served by our organization,” she notes. “You’d be amazed how many people stop and hug me when they notice my Hospice of Michigan shirt.”

Those interested in volunteering should contact Kathy Lietaert, Hospice of Michigan volunteer program manager at 231.779.5409 or klietaer@hom.org for details.

About Hospice of Michigan
A nationally recognized leader in end-of-life care, Hospice of Michigan (HOM) is the original – and largest – hospice in the state. A founding member of the NorthStar Care Community, the nonprofit delivers the highest quality of care, raising more than $5 million each year to cover costs for the uninsured and underinsured. HOM offers a broad range of services to enhance the quality of life at the end of life. HOM also provides grief support and counseling, as well as caregiver education and support. A member of the NorthStar Care Community, HOM also provides palliative care through NorthStar Palliative Care, pediatric hospice care and compassionate support services through Jo Elyn Nyman Anchors Programs for Children, and education programs for physicians and health care professionals through the NorthStar Institute. The NorthStar Care Community also includes Arbor Hospice. In total, NorthStar Care Community members serve nearly 6,500 patients annually across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. For more information, call 888.247.5701.