When we think of testimonials, often it is from consumers of our services. The following “snippets” (from a June 2019 team meeting) are quotes taken directly from activity reports sent in by the ARCH Volunteer Team volunteers after visits. These precious sentiments reflect the love and dignity by which dying patients are regarded and cared for by End of Life Service volunteers. (Formerly Hospice Volunteer Services):
“I got her a blanket from the warmer and sat with her and held her hand for a half hour while she slept. *sigh*.”
“I spent quite a bit of time sitting with him , 40 min. We didn’t speak much, but I occasionally rubbed his back or hand.”
“I ran into Dr. Barnard on my way to HP and she let me know that Arch Room 2 likes to be addressed by her first and middle name.”
“I called ahead to see if it was okay to do some chair massage for the nurses on Med Surg as a way to get to know each other and offer them support from our program!”
“I found this experience overwhelming due to all the other commotions going on around. I have been on the Memory Care Unit before however found this time I needed to take some time to re-center myself before I moved on to check in on the other ARCH rooms. After some deep breathing and running into someone I knew in the halls, I checked in on ARCH #2”
“It was dinner time so I asked them (family) if they wanted something to eat. I went to the kitchen and asked for some soup and sandwiches.”
“He seemed a bit unsettled and tired so I asked him if he would like me to stay with him until he fell asleep. He said that would be nice.”
“I checked in with the family after she had passed and the family felt the singing helped her pass away peacefully.”
“I felt that it was most important just to stay there together. In time, when it seemed time to go we thanked each for 'keeping company' together.”
“I found her dressed but upright in bed, looking out the window... She acknowledged that she was moving home, and, in a softer tone, or somewhere.”
“As usual, a portion of our visit was spent in silence. I have no awareness of what was happening inside for her but she seemed to be at ease.”
“He was quite tired and desired to be alone. A very calm day.”
“Communication was difficult and unfortunately I had a hard time understanding him. I picked up a newspaper and asked if he wanted me to read some articles to him. He nodded yes so we sat for about 30 min or so and I read to him.”
“Before I left I asked if anyone needed anything. They didn't, saying that they felt "spoiled" by the facility and staff.”
“She was surrounded by a lot of family who seemed content to just be present. I sat next to the bed and talked with the group. It was pretty fun with a lot of laughing. I hope a bit of the laugher and love from this family seeped into her subconsciousness.”
“Erica (nurse) said that one person was the roommate of the ARCH guest who just passed and was talking that morning about missing him. I sat with him for about 45 min.”
“She was again having a weepy day so I sat with her, gave her a hand massage and talked with her for a bit.”
"Just before then I saw Karen Herrmann (PMC Volunteer Coordinator) and we had a quick conversation. No shift is complete without a visit with Karen!”
“I tried practicing Len's (Another ARCH Volunteer) skill of companioning without having to have conversation.”
“She was sleeping and I noticed right away that her breathing had a rattling quality. I have to say it reminded me of my dad the day that he died. A disturbing but very telling sound. Feeling like (hospice patient) might be in her last lap I chose to sit with her for the bulk of my shift. I pulled the rocking chair up next to her bed so that I could hold her hand and then I read to her. I had no idea whether she would have wanted or needed this, but it felt like the right thing to do. (she died hours later)”
“The last good thing that may happen in a person’s life…is a hospice volunteer”
“A day to just be present.”
“Another amazing night of connecting with others!!””
Short sweep of the empty rooms.”
“But I trust we were present in some way with each other.”
“It was a heart-felt voyage into new territory”
“I had found the place where I was needed. . .”
“End of notes for today but not wonderment for the human spirit.”
If you found yourself at the end of your life and couldn't be at home, wouldn't it be critically important to be in a place where your unique needs were well tended, where your quality of life mattered, and where the love of friends, family, and caregivers was most important.
Patty Dunn, Former Director of Hospice Volunteer Services
It is with heartfelt thanks that my Mom had the opportunity to share her final journey with family and friends in an ARCH room. As a resident of Otter Creek Way at Helen Porter, her transition to an ARCH room was so smooth. Her special loving caregivers continued to enjoy life with her in a warm and comfortable new room, which she loved! And, as her passing neared, her room became a “home away from home” for family, friends and caregivers, too.
We feel so fortunate to have had the ARCH experience- a thoughtful space, an incredible staff whose care and love could not have been more supportive, and regular “courtesy carts” filled with treats to share with visitors. Please accept this small donation as a token of our appreciation for creating this final oasis for residents and their families. Addison County is so lucky that this service is available to all.
Our family appreciates and respects the valuable care you provide our community and wish you continued support to provide services in the coming years.
I have seen the magic that occurs within the ARCH rooms. The care giving process transforms from something this provided to a gift that is eagerly shared. The beautiful rooms bring pride to the staff which enhances their desire to go above and beyond for the patient and their families. The room reminds them about the very intimate, special and once-in-a-lifetime moment they are part of and for that they feel privileged and honored to be included.
Heather Quesnel, RN, BSN, MS Former Director of Nursing HPHRC
On behalf of our mother, we cannot thank you enough for the extraordinary care Mom received in the Rehabilitation wing and in the ARCH room. Not only did Mom receive excellent attention, the staff brought our family food, drinks, pillows and hugs in the middle of the night. Thank you for making Mom feel so loved.
My family is relieved. They know I’m getting good care. It’s just a nice place to be.
A resident upon admission to an ARCH room
ARCH has admired the courage and commitment of Helen Porter in the creation of this new, home-like suite; offering care that matches treatment to patients goals and fosters quality of life for patient, family, and friends.
Peter Jensen, Former ARCH President
This new space will be an invaluable resource for many local families who cannot care for their loved one at home during their final days, but who still want a home-like setting that offers comfortable surroundings not traditionally found in a nursing home or hospital.
Neil Gruber, Former HPHRC Administrator
I look forward to a local facility that can provide quality hospice care. The ARCH Suites will be a blessing to those who don't have the option of home based hospice care.
Gary Lewis, Former Hospice Volunteer Services Chaplain
Thank you for the care and compassion you provided for my grammy and her family. It was a very difficult time for all of us, but your kindness and the lovely room was helpful.
Hi there- I just wanted to let you know that my Nana, (and John’s) is in the ARCH room right now. I love the room and am so happy that she can be there. Our hopes were that she would be there for possibly up to a month, but that might not be the situation. I think of you both often lately, since Nana has been there, and what a valuable impact this room has had on our family. No one can prepare you for this stage of life, but I am glad that people like you worked on this project with that in mind. Your hard work and dedication is appreciated. Thanks again-
Please let this donation help the ARCH room complete the extraordinary service they perform for the people who stay and complete their journey there.
Thank you for the very important work you are doing for our community.