AHPCA is pleased to introduce our Jean Stone Scholars for 2017
Nancy McCalder, 2017 Jean Stone Scholar
I volunteer with our Day Program at Pilgrims Hospice in Edmonton. The Day Program provides respite care for caregivers and gives clients an opportunity to come to a safe and caring community one to three days per week. As a volunteer, I engage in conversation, games, and fellowship with our clients. I recently started reading Stuart McLean stories to them which they have really enjoyed.
I became interested in hospice palliative care when my sister-in-law was ill; there was a day-type hospice in her community. Unfortunately, like Edmonton, her community did not have a residential hospice. I felt very honoured to be part of her journey and realized this was something I could do and enjoyed doing.
My relationships with the staff and clients keep me coming back. In addition, Pilgrims Hospice treats me very well as a volunteer, which I appreciate. My position has flexibility, which suits me as I am retired from full time work.
I used my Jean Stone Scholarship funds to attend a full-day workshop in Edmonton to learn more about palliative care. It was led by a psychiatrist and focussed on mental health, which is a particular interest of mine. My main takeaway was to let the client lead, in terms of what they want to talk about and when. Although our clients are ill, they still have a right to be active in decisions regarding their care and what they can and can not do. This includes allowing the client to determine if they will continue treatment or not. The family dynamics around these decisions also need to be considered and as a volunteer, we may be the safe person for clients and family members to express their thoughts and feelings.
Christina Gaebel, 2017 Jean Stone Scholar
I was so excited to receive the Jean Stone Scholarship. Thank you! The receipt of this scholarship has allowed me to continue the second part of my Volunteer Management Certification Program.
Although I have volunteered since I was young, this program is helping me understand volunteering from an expanded perspective. I believe I will be more effective in my volunteering due to the new concepts I am learning.
I currently volunteer at the Dulcina Hospice two days a week. On Wednesdays I volunteer as a Friendly Visitor – my duties include visiting and helping out our guests and their families. And then there are Saturdays … my favorite day! On Saturdays my Mom, my 19 year old son and I volunteer as the “Saturday Bakers”. During our time there we try to make the yummiest treats our abilities allow and then deliver them to guests, their families and staff. People tend to open up, breathe easier and smile when offered goodies. My Mom’s favourite moment was a gentleman telling her what comfort it gave his wife to be able to offer her guests treats from the cart. It brought back such good memories to both of them as she too loved to bake. It took them back to better times. My son’s favorite moment was when he and an older gentleman, who was a music teacher, made peanut butter cookies while singing Beatles’ tunes, no music needed. And my favourite memory was of a man who hung out in the kitchen reading his Saturday newspaper. He lets us know that he NEEDED the memory of baking smells, kitchen noise and family chatter. He NEEDED this moment of normalcy.
My volunteer work at Dulcina has allowed me to find my passion. I have come to realize that hospice care is where I can best serve and make a difference in people’s lives. And so it is with gratitude that I thank you for honoring me with the gift of the Jean Stone Scholarship.
Wanita Toews, 2017 Jean Stone Scholar
Hospice palliative care has long been a passion of mine. As an LPN on a busy hospital unit where we had palliative care beds, something just felt wrong with the picture of dying in a busy institution with the clanging bells, bumping cleaning carts, and busyness of the unit.
Six years ago when I was asked to be on the hospice board in Camrose, where the dream had begun to build a hospice, I jumped at the chance. I took their volunteer training, called “Being with Dying,” and was asked to facilitate the “Medical
Signs and Symptoms of Dying Chapter” in their biannual training sessions.
I sit on the board which means monthly meetings and I am also on the fundraising committee which runs our annual Lights to Remember campaign at Christmas and our Hike for Hospice every May as well as multiple smaller fundraising experiences throughout the year.
As we get closer to our goal, my belief strengthens that a hospice is such a valuable part of a community. I have been at the bedside of numerous clients in my nursing career as they have passed away and being able to sit with someone in those last sacred hours of their life is such an honor. “Take off your shoes, for you are on holy ground.”
I am grateful and honored to receive the scholarship and will be using it to take the LEAP (Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care) training in Wetaskiwin at the end of June 2017.