Francine Robb has been a volunteer at Regional Hospice since 2015. In 2018, she clocked over 500 volunteer hours as a lobby greeter and family support volunteer. That dedication earned her the prestigious “Gold Level” President’s Volunteer Service Award. We asked her to share her experience volunteering at Regional Hospice with us.
What inspired you to become a part of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care (RHPC)?
“In the past, I worked as a hospice volunteer and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I came here because I knew that supporting patients and their families offers an authentic experience: dealing with the end of life is as real as it gets. I’ve found, too, that being at Regional Hospice also enables me to integrate death into my own life as a way to prepare. The more you know about the process of dying, the less trepidation there is.”
What is your role at RHPC?
“I have two different roles. As a lobby greeter, I welcome and assist visitors who walk through our doors. I’m also a family support volunteer in the Center. That position involves doing whatever is needed—everything from making up a room for an incoming patient and talking to family members to sitting next to a patient’s bed—just to be a presence.”
What do you get out of volunteering?
“Volunteering gives me a sense of peace and a deep source of joy. It also puts me in a different temperament. If something at home isn’t working out, as soon as I arrive here, I’m able to let go of that situation. I’m in the “now” when I’m here, fully present. I’ve worked my whole life and can say that my time here is one of my most happy experiences.”
Is there an experience you’ve had that is especially memorable?
“Yes. I was in the room of a patient who had just died, waiting for the family to arrive because they wanted someone to be there for them when they walked through the door. I would describe the moment right after death as spiritual. A profound calm filled the room, and I sensed the presence of grace. I will always remember the sacredness of that moment.”
What are some lessons you’ve learned at RHPC?
“I’ve learned that death is a part of the life experience, that it’s a natural progression. I’ve also gotten to see how people deal with the end of life differently, and that it’s important to accept people as they are.”
What would you like to share with prospective volunteers?
“Let yourself be open because you will learn and grow here. Also, it’s not all sadness. That is a part, of course, but with that is much laughter and comradery. The staff and other volunteers are caring and supportive people. Prepare yourself to become immersed in something that is so much bigger than you.”
For families who are considering Regional Hospice, what would you say to them?
“I would tell them that to bring a loved one here is a blessed opportunity for everyone involved because Regional Hospice makes the experience of dying both beautiful and meaningful. I’d also say that you and your loved one will be attended to in a way you’ve never experienced before. The care you receive will make your time here a treasured experience.”
To volunteer with Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, fill out an application today!