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Reflecting on Volunteering and the Center for Supportive Care - Ohio's Hospice Lifecare

Rebecca McCurdy Reflects on Volunteering and the Center for Supportive Care

As construction continues at the Marilyn B. and Mark E. Gustafson Center for Supportive Care, Rebecca McCurdy, manager of Volunteer Services at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, is looking forward to moving into the new center.

Q. How long have you worked for Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare?

A. On June 22, I celebrated 29 years with Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare serving our community.

Q. What has the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic taught you about volunteerism and your community? 

A. I was already very impressed with the quality of volunteerism in our community. We have an extremely robust and involved volunteer team. But it was impressive to see how volunteers were able to adapt and maintain their commitment. 

Q. Are there any stand-out memories from the past year and your volunteers?

A. There are many. Our medication/supply delivery volunteers rose to the designation of essential workers, helping us make sure our patients and their families had the things they needed. Guy Lilley, one of our volunteers, was instrumental in making this effort a success. 

Our volunteers were willing to don protective gear and find ways to connect with words and eye contact. Lynn Young is a great example of one of these volunteers. 

Our volunteers were able to connect with patients via phone calls and build really meaningful relationships with patients, despite never actually being in their physical presence. Marilyn Gustafson excelled with this challenge. 

Our volunteers also expanded our bereavement support for spouses going through their loss in such a strange and isolated time. Volunteer Sue Snavely was crucial in this outreach.

Q. What will the new Center for Supportive Care afford you and your volunteers?

A. The Marilyn B. and Mark E. Gustafson Center for Supportive Care will be a place where the Volunteer Team can prosper and grow in our sense of community. Volunteer education, including the initial training, ongoing continuing education, and volunteer support, will thrive in this designated space. We expect to be able to expand the volunteer contribution to administrative support with additional computer workstations and group work spaces. Because we’ll be sharing the space with the bereavement program, we hope to expand the volunteer support role in that area, too. 

Q. What are you looking forward to the most with the new space and resources? 

A. The volunteer program at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare is really an integral part of our mission. To me, the fact that Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare has prioritized expanding our space and enriching our resources is a symbol of the respect for the volunteer contribution to our mission. Even with the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 10% of patient care was contributed by volunteers in 2020. In a “normal” year, that contribution regularly exceeds 20%. The link between this hospice and the communities we serve is most strongly seen in the extraordinary commitment and compassion of our volunteer team. Having the Gustafson Center take pride of place on our campus will say to anyone who drives by, “This is a community that takes care of its own.”

Q. What would you say to anyone considering making a donation or volunteering their time to the organization?

A. Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare is extremely good at utilizing our resources in a meaningful way. Every dollar and every hour contributed to this work goes to the very core of our mission. This is a place where we don’t settle for mediocrity. Every member of our team of care, both paid and volunteer, is fully committed to enhancing our patients’ last season of life in every way possible. Despite the sorrow we bear witness to, that makes Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare a joyful place to work.

To learn more about how you can support the Marilyn B. and Mark E. Gustafson Center for Supportive care, click here.

To learn more about volunteering with Ohio’s Hospice Lifecare, click here.

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