Students spend time with elderly patients
Megan Compaine ‘12 has been volunteering with Hospice Volunteers of the Waterville Area since last spring. This semester, she will act as program leader for the CVC so other students can do the same.
This semester, the Colby Volunteer Center (CVC) introduced a new program that allows students to visit with hospice patients through Hospice Volunteers of the Waterville Area. The program, spearheaded and organized by Megan Compaine ’12, matches student volunteers with clients in private homes, nursing homes or hospitals in the Waterville area.
Compaine started volunteering with Hospice Volunteers of the Waterville Area last spring, and she enjoyed her experience so much that she spent her JanPlan doing an independent study with the organization.
“Part of my job was to set up a hospice volunteer program through the CVC because no one really knew about [it],” Compaine said. “Now, it’s an official CVC program.”
Students who participate in CVC’s new hospice program will receive extensive training from Hospice Volunteers of the Waterville Area, part of which will help to prepare them for the potential emotional effects of working with patients whose illnesses no longer respond to cure-oriented treatments.
After training, volunteers will be matched with a client whom they visit at least once a week. “It’s a very big time commitment and it’s obviously a pretty heavy subject so we don’t get the number of volunteers that some CVC clubs get, but the volunteers we do have are really dedicated,” Compaine said.
According to Compaine, “the program will tell you a little bit about a person you might be matched with and then ask if you’d be interested in working with them.” Compaine requested to be partnered with a woman, and she has been visiting the same client since last spring. While she does admit that the hospice environment is emotionally “hard” at times, Compaine and her client “don’t necessarily discuss death and dying.”
“My client is in a nursing home,” Compaine said. “She’s bedridden, so we can’t get out and do much, but we talk and do the occasional crossword. She’s a big fan of the Red Sox, so we talk about that a lot. She looks forward to the visits and it’s been really rewarding for me.”
Hospice Volunteers of the Waterville Area also has a subset program called Hope’s Place, which helps grieving children process their emotions. Volunteers through the CVC can specify which part of the Hospice Volunteers program they would like to participate in. The next training session for volunteers will take place this March. Interested students should contact Megan Compaine (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.