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Volunteer Gives Back the Love, Care Given to her Sister by Hospice Team 

Debbie Bisson doesn’t think of the Rose Monahan Hospice Home as simply the place where she volunteers.

“It’s my family away from family,” she said.

Her connection to the residence began many years ago when her sister received end-of-life care at the homelike residence that overlooks Worcester’s Coes Pond.

“I saw the care and the love that was given to her, and I wanted to return that back,” Debbie said. Four years ago, she completed VNA Care’s hospice volunteer training program and started a weekly shift at the Monahan Home.

Each volunteer shift is different. Debbie pitches in wherever she’s most needed, whether that’s helping in the kitchen, doing laundry, or taking on other household chores to support staff and keep things running smoothly. Her favorite part of volunteering, though, is spending time with patients.

Debbie likes to meet patients “where they’re at. I could get someone who is very social, and we’ll chat. ...There could be people coming in who are nonverbal. To me, it’s letting them know that they’re not alone, that I’m there sitting with them and giving them that peace that they aren’t by themselves.”

Building meaningful connections with patients during their time at the residence is what is important to Debbie. One patient was very quiet and tended to keep to himself. Debbie noticed some fishing mementos in his room and struck up a conversation. It wasn’t long before the patient was giving Debbie fly fishing lessons as he sat in bed.

Debbie discovered a shared love of classical music during her visits with another patient. When the patient was no longer able to communicate, Debbie sat at his bedside, held his hand, and provided reassurance as the music he cherished filled the room.

“The final part of their life, I get to be a part of it. That’s an honor and a privilege,” said Debbie. She loves her time with staff and patients at the Monahan Home so much that she’ll soon be taking on additional volunteer shifts.

Debbie shared that the Monahan Home is “truly a beautiful place, and it’s authentic with the love and care that they (patients) all get.”

She added, “I don’t think people realize all that I’m getting (from volunteering). ...Everyone thinks of it as you’re giving up your time and they don’t pay you. What I’m getting in return, money can’t even compare. ...I just love this home.”

For more information

Learn more about becoming a hospice volunteer and care at the Rose Monahan Hospice Home.

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