Hospice Quinte: Changing Lives Podcast

Hospice Quinte's Companionship Programs

March 28, 2022 Hospice Quinte
Hospice Quinte: Changing Lives Podcast
Hospice Quinte's Companionship Programs
Show Notes Transcript

*** Please Note: This Content May Contain Information Regarding Programs That Are No Longer Offered by Hospice Quinte ***

In 2020 Hospice Quinte introduced two new programs – Bereavement Companionship and Caregiver Companionship.  Often, people who are caring for someone with a terminal illness don’t have the time or energy to come to a support group.  The Caregiver Companionship program allows caregivers to schedule a weekly call with a compassionate volunteer that can be done at a time that works for them without leaving their home.  While many people who are grieving find a benefit from support groups – some people are more private and prefer to have one on one conversations about their loss.  The Bereavement Companion program answers that need.  Empathetic volunteers are matched with people who are grieving the loss of a loved one for weekly supportive telephone calls.  Find out more in this week's Changing Lives podcast.

Listen on 91x FM
You can listen to episodes of "Changing Lives"  on 91x FM each Monday (except for holidays) at 9:05am.  Hospice Quinte is grateful to the support that 91x FM provides in producing the "Changing Lives" podcast.

About Hospice Quinte
Hospice Quinte provides individuals, their families, and caregivers with compassionate end of life care, by attending to their physical, psychosocial, and practical needs, and offering empathetic care to those who are grieving through visiting hospice services and support groups.  All Hospice Quinte programs and services are provided by compassionate, well-trained volunteers and staff at no charge to the individual or their family.  

Hospice Quinte serves a population of over 102,000 in Quinte West, Belleville, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Township and the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. To find out more visit HospiceQuinte.ca.

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In a recent Palliative Care survey, the second highest issue raised by elderly people was loneliness.   And it isn’t only people who are dying who feel lonely.  A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine discovered that more than a third of adults aged 45 or older – feels lonely.   And nearly one fourth of adults over 65 is considered to be socially isolated.

Being lonely is becoming an epidemic.

There is strong evidence in adults 50 and over that social isolation and loneliness puts their health at risk.  Recent studies found that social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Loneliness was also associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia and higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

When we began to hear statistics about loneliness among palliative care patients, we at Hospice Quinte asked ourselves what we could do to help prevent the loneliness and isolation that often happen for people who are experiencing a terminal illness, or the people who are caring for them, or those that have lost a loved one.

For over thirty-five years we have been providing companionship and support to people who are dying with our in-home hospice visiting program.  Our trained volunteers visit weekly to provide a friendly listening ear and supportive conversation.  We realized that these volunteers had the skills and training to support caregivers and the bereaved as well.

In 2020 Hospice Quinte introduced two new programs – Bereavement Companionship and Caregiver Companionship.  Often, people who are caring for someone with a terminal illness don’t have the time or energy to come to a support group.  The Caregiver Companionship program allows caregivers to schedule a weekly call with a compassionate volunteer that can be done at a time that works for them without leaving their home.

While many people who are grieving find a benefit from support groups – some people are more private and prefer to have one on one conversations about their loss.  The Bereavement Companion program answers that need.  Empathetic volunteers are matched with people who are grieving the loss of a loved one for weekly supportive telephone calls.

These companionship programs are a telephone version of a pen pal.   And people love the idea.  Friendships were started, contact was had and social interaction was enjoyed.   The reports coming back were euphoric – from both sides.   Not only did clients appreciate the friendly phone calls – but volunteers alike were equally thankful for the relationships that grew from those calls.

Loneliness and caregiving seem to go hand in hand.  That could be because people who are caregivers are selfless and they don’t want to burden others.  It is common for caregivers to put their physical, emotional and social needs aside so that they can continue to meet the needs of their loved ones.  A caregiver’s needs tend to be overlooked, as the needs of the patients are usually more visible and immediate.  Yet, their needs are no less important.  And social needs can be just as important as physical needs.

Grieving can be a lonely process.  After the visitation and memorial services are done, many bereaved people feel a deep sense of isolation.  People process grief in a very individual manner, even when they are grieving the loss of the same person.  It can be helpful to have someone outside of your family or social circle to talk to about your loss and to help ease that loneliness.

Maybe this whole topic is resonating with you.   Maybe you are experiencing that kind of loneliness and would like to have a telephone peer companion.  Reach out to Hospice Quinte.  We have volunteers from all walks of life who would be happy to connect with you to discuss the difficult time you are going through, or just to have a chat to help relieve the isolation and loneliness that come from being a caregiver or from experiencing a loss.

Our companionship programs are confidential and judgement-free.    If you, or someone you know, could benefit from one of our companionship programs, please contact us.

Maybe the idea of helping someone through their bereavement or caregiving challenges sounds like something you would like to do.  We offer a comprehensive training program to prepare volunteers to talk about important end of life issues and in how to support caregivers and those who are grieving.  If this is of interest to you – please call our office or visit our website to find out how you can become a Hospice Quinte volunteer.

Hospice Quinte provides individuals, their families, and caregivers with compassionate end of life care, by attending to their physical, psychosocial, and practical needs, and offering empathetic care to those who are grieving through visiting hospice services and support groups.  All Hospice Quinte programs and services are provided by compassionate, well-trained volunteers and staff at no charge to the individual or their family.  We serve a population of over 102,000 in Quinte West, Belleville, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Township and the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.