We Need to Get Some Wood in Before Winter
Before becoming a hospice volunteer, the author had very little experience with talking to anyone about death and dying. After completing his hospice training, the author was supposed to be ready for his first assignment. Yet none of his training prepared him for what it was really like to go into the house of a total stranger, a person who was dying. Through hospice, the author had helped families in basically three ways: by doing chores, by offering companionship, or by providing respite care. Respite care (providing relief for the caregiver) is a very important (and greatly appreciated) service to the families of dying patients. Very often the primary caregiver has been taking care of the patient for a long time, sometimes for several years. She or he has spent most of her or his time with the patient, whether at home, in the hospital, or in doctors’ offices.