Heartland Hospice serving Central Maryland is celebrating National Healthcare Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017 by recognizing and highlighting the role volunteers play in enriching the lives of hospice patients and their families by providing additional emotional and spiritual support as requested.
Hospice patients can choose to have a spiritual counselor on their care team to provide spiritual support. Jan Darcey has been a Heartland volunteer for over 8 years. Jan celebrates the Hindu faith as part of her spiritual practice. She dresses in traditional Hindu garb for worship and ritual with her patients of the Hindu faith to increase their comfort and familiarity with her as she supports them on their hospice journey.
Jan explains, “I try to focus on what is meaningful and cherished by each patient and family. This may involve religious observances and rituals, spiritual hymns and chanting, readings from sacred and secular texts and storytelling. Celebrating diversity in faith and spirituality is sacred to me.”
“Being spiritually present to patients that I share similar beliefs with allows the unique dimensions of faith and dying to embrace each other. The impact upon both is extraordinary,” adds Jan.
National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 by executive order as a way to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers. This signature week has grown exponentially each year, it also provides an opportunity to thank volunteers, like Jan, who lend their time and talent to help patients in their journey.