For the past 29 years, Adele DeVries, of Wautoma, has served Agnesian HealthCare Hospice Hope patients and their families with a smile and friendly face. At 92 years of age, DeVries remains active as a volunteer and always willing to learn a new trick or two.
In her role, DeVries provides companionship, spiritual care, respite and bereavement care to patients and families in the Wautoma area. She also helps with special projects and events, as well as continuing volunteer education.
“Adele is a very committed hospice volunteer,” according to Betty Walleser, Hospice Hope volunteer coordinator. “She is very devoted, patient and caring to all her patients. She brings her Q Chord (musical instrument) to her visits; it is a way to engage with patients. She is always excited to get a new assignment and looks forward to helping her patients any way she can.”
DeVries originally became a volunteer when a friend – who is a registered nurse – invited her and her husband, Robert, to join.
“We used to visit patients together and it was a positive experience for both of us,” DeVries says. “We also joined a lot of other groups as volunteers. After my husband passed away, I continued volunteering and visiting hospice patients. It helps me to see another side of life. I have met wonderful people who have become my friends.”
Serving as a companion to patients and helping at remembrance services brings DeVries great personal satisfaction and is extremely rewarding.
“I love being able to interact with people,” she says. “I learn a lot about people - who they are and how they live. It’s also rewarding getting to know them and their families. I also get to know the staff at facilities, so I become acquainted with those around me. I know someday the facility will also be my home.”
DeVries’ favorite memories of Hospice Hope volunteer work remain from her first experiences. “While I have a lot of good memories, my favorite is my first one. We used to go visit a patient so her husband could go out and run errands. He would go out for a little while and come back because he would rather also visit with us. We also built a relationship with him and soon became friends.”
Agnesian HealthCare Hospice Hope has scheduled an upcoming orientation session for interested volunteers. What would DeVries tell a potential volunteer considering this unique opportunity?
“It is a rewarding experience,” she says. “You are free to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to assignments. I encourage people to try it and to remember that it takes a little time to become acquainted with patients. Patients want to tell you about their families and stories. A hospice volunteer is a good listening ear.
Being a hospice volunteer teaches you and gives you a sense that every single individual is important no matter what their abilities are,” DeVries adds. “As a hospice volunteer, you learn from patients. All patients have taught me something.”
There are many wonderful opportunities for those interested in volunteering with Agnesian HealthCare’s Hospice Hope; include providing companionship and emotional support, assisting with respite and bereavement care, assisting with clerical duties and a variety of other patient and non-patient contact opportunities.
Being a hospice volunteer is a rewarding experience that allows individuals to share their gifts and talents, grow spiritually, learn new skills, belong to a caring team with a common goal, and much more.
The next Hospice Hope volunteer training session, consisting of one full day, has been scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, September 22 at Ripon Medical Center. After training, all volunteers are placed in their own local geographic area. Applications are being accepted immediately and early application is highly encouraged.
Also, churches or service organizations interested in a presentation or introduction to hospice and its services can contact Hospice Hope.
Individuals thinking about a volunteer opportunity can contact the Green Lake area Hospice Hope Volunteer Services at (920) 294-6220 or (800) 361-9499 for more information. Application deadline is Friday, September 5.