Karen Boutross has been a devoted volunteer with Regional Hospice and Palliative Care since 2016. On top of working a full-time job last year, Karen accrued 500 volunteer hours as a family support volunteer. That above-and-beyond dedication earned her the prestigious “Gold Level” President’s Volunteer Service Award. We asked her to share her experience as a volunteer with us.
What inspired you to become a part of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care (RHPC)?
“I was inspired by the experience my mom had as a patient. I was the primary caregiver for her in my home, and Regional Hospice did so much to help us. They provided a bed and a wheelchair for her, and they supported me in ways that made caretaking a lot easier. They handled everything perfectly, and I was extremely grateful. I came here because I wanted to repay the favor.”
What is your role at RHPC?
“Three night a week, I work as a family support volunteer in our Center in Danbury. I do a variety of tasks, but one of my favorite responsibilities is feeding patients who need assistance. Ever since I started volunteering, I always wanted to assist with meals. It’s a direct way to help patients, and to feed someone really can be an intimate exchange. I get a lot out of it.”
What does volunteering do for you?
“It sincerely fills my heart with joy. The staff is warm and friendly, and they make it easy to be here. The environment is one of hope. It makes me smile to spend time here.”
Is there an experience you’ve had with a patient that is especially memorable?
“All of the patients are special, but there’s one who I remember the most. She was in her 60’s and always had on a purple robe. She was always upbeat and happy, approaching the end of life head on, talking about it and accepting it with such vitality. It was inspiring to be in her presence and witness her positivity and strength.”
What are some lessons you’ve learned at RHPC?
“I’ve learned that everyone handles the journey of death differently. Some people are open and loving, others can be withdrawn and curt. You learn to be flexible with people’s moods and not to take anything personally. One of the most important things you can do here is to go with the flow.”
“The Center for Comfort Care and Healing the most loving and caring environment I’ve ever been in, and I can’t think of any other place that feels so warm and accepting. It’s as close to home as you’re going to get without being at home. “– Karen Boutross, Family Support Volunteer
For families who are considering Regional Hospice, what would you say to them?
“I’d absolutely recommend coming here. It’s the most loving and caring environment I’ve ever been in, and I can’t think of any other place that feels so warm and accepting. It’s as close to home as you’re going to get without being at home. The staff treat patients like family.”
What is something else about yourself that you’d like to share?
“When I have free time, I put it toward making things. I’m artistic and have found that my creative joy is in making head pieces for weddings and special events. I use beads, pearls, Swarovski crystals, flowers, and satin as decorations. I’ve recently started to embellish hair combs too. Recently I made a detailed piece for my best friend’s daughter who is getting married. Making beautiful things to share with other people gives me great pleasure.”
To volunteer with Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, fill out an application today!