April 28, 2021
EveryStep Hospice Volunteer: Wendy Shaha
As a nurse, Wendy Shaha has seen the compassion and support hospice care has offered to patients and families.
"I've become more understanding about what it represents and how helpful they are for residents," she says. "I could see the amazing group hospice was, how they helped patients and families at the same time."
Three years ago, Wendy took her experience with hospice a step further and began volunteering for EveryStep Hospice.
"I have wanted to volunteer for quite a while, and now that I work part-time I have a bit more free time," she says. "I have just been so grateful that hospice is there to aid families and I just wanted to be part of that because I could see the comfort and peace they can help bring."
Wendy would visit with patients in their homes, keeping them company, offering to run errands, pick up medication or groceries, and even arrange to take a patient to dinner when possible.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic began, most in-person volunteer visits stopped, and Wendy shifted to making phone calls and sending cards to the patients she would visit.
"For one patient in Creston, I was able to call her and still get her groceries," Wendy says.
Because Wendy continues to work at a local nursing home where some patients reside, she hasn't completely ceased in-person visits. For those patients, she's been able to continue checking in when time allows.
"I just wanted to let them know I was there," she says of keeping in contact during the pandemic. "I'm so filled with gratitude that I can do this. It's hard to put into words, it's emotional."
Wendy recalls one patient she visited with recently who didn't have family and just a few friends.
"Every time I talked to her, she just thanked me and thanked me," Wendy says. "She said without hospice she never had so many people visit her. It just made my heart full that I could be part of her life."
Wendy encourages others to seek out volunteer opportunities with EveryStep Hospice.
"It's well worth your time," she says. "When I deduced to become a hospice volunteer, there were a couple other gals I was friends with who decided to do it also. If you don't want to do it by yourself, maybe find a friend to encourage each other."
If you're interested in volunteer opportunities with EveryStep, visit our website.