Hospice Companion
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Emmanuel Hospice

Hospice Companion

You’ll be a friendly visitor for terminally ill people who don’t have family living in Grand Rapids or whose family may need a break from caregiving. You can read a book or devotional, pray, do a puzzle, watch television, play music, chat, or simply hold their hand. Many of the patients don’t necessarily need great conversation—they just don’t want to be alone, and your presence is all they need. Though some visits may be in someone’s home (if you’re willing), most visits are in care facilities throughout greater Grand Rapids: Clark Retirement Home, Porter Hills, Sunset Manor, or St. Ann’s Home. You may choose a location convenient for you, as well as a day/time that works for your schedule.

Show me how to get started
4+ hours/month, as you’re available
18+; pass a background check; finger-printing; TB test and flu shot
Various sites to choose from

Is This the Right Fit for Me?

You know (or are trying to learn) that there’s not an easy fix for every moment or situation. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but be present and hold space with someone. You’re comfortable being gentle and patient in talking about your day, doing a puzzle, or listening to a story; you also know sometimes silence is okay. You’re committed to self-care and being aware that someone’s health can decline quickly. You’re willing to spend time with your new friend on good days and bad.

About Emmanuel Hospice

Emmanuel was created to create a peaceful experience for the dying and their loved ones by providing exemplary spiritual and physical care. The team is intensely focused on what is most important to each patient and family, and encourages the celebration of life. The team at Emmanuel consists of nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, bereavement coordinator, volunteers, and a medical director. They work together to provide physical care, education, counseling, spiritual support, and love to those with a terminal diagnosis. Emmanuel Hospice was created in 2013 as a collaboration of four local retirement communities: Clark Retirement Home, Porter Hills, Sunset Manor, or St. Ann’s Home; they are also supported by the Carmelite Sisters of St. Ann's Home.

What Others are Saying

"I remember getting a card (which I still have!) from the daughters of a patient who had recently passed away. They thanked me for helping them to see past all the hurt that had occurred over the years, so that they could love their mom in the present moment, just as she was. If hospice hadn't been there, and if volunteers hadn't been there, their mom might have died without them ever getting to experience that small bit of healing. I can't really describe the impact that had on me, but I realized that my presence, humble as it is, can make a life-changing impact on people at an extremely critical time in their lives. Emmanuel is highly dependent on volunteers to make sure that we can do our best work for our patients and families. It is one of the most rewarding places to put one's time because nothing is wasted."

Sister Anne Marie

Contact the Organization

If you’re ready to ask some questions and get started, contact the Emmanuel Hospice directly.

Jackie Chandler Volunteer Coordinator 616-719-0919

What to Expect

Reach out to Jackie to schedule an in-person interview, where you’ll learn more about being a hospice companion and the work of Emmanuel Hospice. The self-study orientation process works around your busy schedule: you’ll read an orientation binder, watch three DVDS (approx. 2.5 hours total), and complete online learning modules. Then, once your screening is clear (background check, fingerprinting, TB test, flu shot), you’ll meet with Jackie again to review the current patients and volunteer opportunities, choose a facility that works for you, and schedule your first visit. If you want, Jackie can accompany you on your first patient visit.