Building meaningful relationships with patients is all part of being a hospice volunteer. Julie, a direct-patient volunteer with Allina Health Hospice, shared her love of sports with patient Elnora and in the process developed a special bond.
They were introduced after Elnora expressed an interest in massage and healing touch during her first hospice care meeting. Julie is a Reiki practitioner, which is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. "We quickly became good friends, bonding during our Reiki sessions over our mutual passion for family and sports," says Julie.
Knowing that Elnora is a huge fan of the Minnesota Twins, Julie invited her to attend an afternoon Twins game versus the Yankees at the Metrodome. Elnora was concerned that the logistics for the outing wouldn't work but she arranged for portable oxygen and Julie was able to fit Elnora's wheelchair into her car. The two friends enjoyed the game from behind home plate where during the fifth inning a neighboring fan asked Elnora, "Is that your sister that's with you?" to which she responded, "Oh no, she's my angel."
Julie describes her relationship with Elnora as a unique friendship, "it's a special experience to get to know someone at that stage of life." With the success of attending the Twins game Elnora gained the confidence to venture out on a few more outings with Julie at her side, including attending her granddaughter's wedding reception.
When asked to describe her experiences as a hospice volunteer, Julie explains that a line from the Saint Francis prayer sums it up best: "For it is in giving that we receive."
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Jennifer Wild, Allina Health Marketing & Communications, This Week @ Allina Clinic & Community Division
Jennifer Wild, Allina Health Marketing & Communications