Premier Hospice Phoenix loves our patients with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Therefore, when a loved one’s death is imminent, the preparation and care we give during the final hours are a special gift.
The Eleventh-Hour program
In the Eleventh-Hour program, we are flexible, attentive and responsive to a family’s needs. We ensure that a loved one and his family members do not face this difficult transition alone. We pay attention to the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of the loved one, offering companionship and comfort.
“I think the Eleventh-Hour program is one of the best programs that has been put together,” said Susan Lee, who has been volunteering for 3 years. “I believe it gives the person passing away peace of mind to know someone is there to hold their hand. I’ll talk with them and pray with them, depending on their religion. It also gives me a peace of mind that I assisted someone.”
We also encourage the loved one’s family members to make peace and say their goodbyes. This type of pristine service takes teamwork: from the caring volunteer like Susan, to the hospice nurses, and dedicated chaplains.
Susan decided to join the program after talking extensively with Vice President of Support Services Laura Ehmann, attending the introductory meeting, and learning more from her daughter, who also volunteers.
At first Susan was not sure she could handle the stages that occur along the final-hours of one’s life, but her experience with her mother passing away, drove her to selflessly care for others.
“I also knew that I didn’t want someone to be left alone,” said Susan. “And when my mom passed away (with a different company), she was alone … I needed to go home and do something and I’ve always felt so guilty about the fact that she was alone when she passed away. I didn’t want another person to to have that feeling that they were alone, and no one was there to hold their hand, to talk to them, or to comfort them.”
According to Susan, it is crucial to consistently be by the patient’s side, and establish a calm and gentle environment for everyone involved. During this time of grief, the Eleventh-Hour Program helps families help their loved ones.
“My part is to make sure the patients are comfortable and at peace and that, more than anything, they are not alone; someone is continuously there with them,” said Susan. “And if the family is there, I put them at ease so they know we are there to help them along with the patient to make sure everyone is comfortable.”
Premier Hospice will prepare and train a volunteer to look for specific signs in the patient, know how to relax the patient, and talk through any concerns and needs with other family members.
“The training you go through is going to walk you through everything so that you know you have the feeling you want to do it,” said Susan. “Before you sit with a patient, you’re going to have the knowledge, you’re going to know what to expect, so that you don’t have any surprises.”
When a patient is alone, a quick response from a volunteer makes sure the patient receives respect, kindness, and love. In other instances, family members need to be reassured that their loved one is comfortable, and that their presence is what matters most to him or her.
If you are interested in volunteering with this special program, reach out to Laura Ehmann, the Vice President of Support Services at Laura.Ehmann@premierhospiceaz.com.
We are always looking to add new members to the team!