A Hand for Helping, A Heart for Service

The volunteers at BridgingLife are some of the best advocates for individuals in hospice care, their families and the clinical care team. “It takes a special kind of heart to dedicate your time to helping those in hospice,” shares Kathy Barna, volunteer coordinator at BridgingLife. “Volunteers can provide insight into the patient’s emotions that a clinical team might not always get.”

Now, as part of its expansion to serve the entire LifeBridge Health system, BridgingLife is looking to strengthen its volunteer program to reach its newest care communities. “Our services are inclusive to people of all faiths and walks of life,” says Barna. “We’re actively seeking volunteers to match that sentiment. We’re more than happy to bring our volunteer training to your church’s community center, synagogue or other place of worship.”

With a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, the team at BridgingLife assesses each volunteer candidate’s unique gifts and strengths in order to place them in the setting that’s best suited for them. “Some people excel at connecting with patients as a companion or allowing caregivers to run errands during respite visits,” says Barna. “Others feel more comfortable with making the hospice environment warm and inviting for patients and their families—whether they’re greeting them at the door or bringing their pets in to say hello.

“It’s all about letting people’s abilities shine through their acts of service.”

In addition, BridgingLife volunteers are thoroughly trained in dealing with tough topics such as death and grief, as well as proper protocol for working in a healthcare setting. “We ensure everyone knows how to interact with patients as well as decompress after their time volunteering,” shares Barna. “It can be a lot, but we’re not made to do it all on our own. We provide our volunteers with mentors and ongoing education so they can continue to learn as they go.”

Best of all, the connections that are made between patients, family members, BridgingLife staff and volunteers are irreplaceable. “We all come with different perspectives and outlooks on life,” states Barna. “But one thing is for sure—it’s an honor to work with people who have a foot in both worlds and to provide them with the means to die well.”

Interested in volunteering at BridgingLife? Visit bridginglifecare.org or call 410-871-8000 to learn more.

From the fall 2022 issue of DASH, BridgingLife’s community newsletter.

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