An interview with Brandi Taylor, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, Transitions Indianapolis

When you say something is a gem, it’s said that you value the quality or beauty of that person or thing highly. A gem’s properties are natural and can only get more radiant.

There’s a perennial feeling of reverence for the person that willingly devotes their energy to such a deserving, but sometimes misapprehended cause. Recently, we connected with our Volunteer Coordinator in Indianapolis, Brandi Taylor, to gain her thoughts on the impact made by Transitions volunteers each day. Read below for a few highlights.

Q: What are some of the things that volunteers do at a hospice organization? 

A: Each volunteer at Transitions serves a unique purpose. For example,

Companion Volunteers provide our patients with a sense of camaraderie and fellowship in a time where they value the company of someone who will listen, laugh and discuss the happenings of the day. Our Office Volunteers empower patients and their families by providing them with educational materials that provide comfort during the end of life. Also, Vigil Volunteers support the patient in the most fulfilling way. They sit at the patient’s bedside at the “eleventh hour” to be observant, be a calming voice, let our patient know they are not alone and support the family. There are other volunteers that support in many ways, including Family Volunteers and Assisted Animal Volunteers, also.

Q: How do volunteers help ease the burden on families and staff for Transitions? 

A: “A donation of time is a donation of love.” Volunteers provide extra services to patients that relieve the family and other caregivers the stress the end-of-life can have. They are truly invaluable to the work our teams provide. 

Q: What are you thankful for as the Volunteer Coordinator of Transitions? 

A: Supporting the work of our amazing volunteers is humbling. I am thankful for being able to do work that is fulfilling, impactful and undoubtedly rewarding.

Below, Brandi shares more insight into the role of Transitions volunteers:

Hospice Companion Volunteer:

The role of a Hospice Companion Volunteer is specific but catered to the particular needs of the patient. Which is directly in-line with our Transitions Commandment of “Each patient is Unique.”  Those needs could be as tenuous as a listening ear to a story that’s been told 100x, but they’d like to tell it again. Our Companion Volunteers are elated to hear that story and take it as an extra opportunity to engage and learn a thing or two about that patient. Maybe our patient misses the plain old camaraderie that comes from yelling at the television during sports or game shows. Hospice Companion Volunteers understand that’s a craving for fellowship and the fact that the patient looks forward to their interaction.

Office Volunteers:

Our Office Volunteers have an empathetic view on how the education provided from Transitions throughout the hospice journey can be the light or missing piece that helps them understand the organization’s overall mission during this difficult, but guaranteed stage of life. Office Volunteers are an integral staple in the direct empowerment of our Hospice patients and their families/loved ones. The educational handouts, admission folders, social worker and bereavement folders’ are all made with a love that speaks to a deeper part of the soul. In some cases, the inevitable progression and changes that occur during end of life stages are unfamiliar and can be better understood through the supportive and befitting informational material that our invaluable Office Volunteers prepare. 

Vigil Volunteers:

When there is nothing else that can clinically be done to help extend the life of a loved one and the time comes when friends and family may attempt to be at their side 24/7, that’s when our Vigil Volunteers jump into action. When a sweet, loving, unbiased voice or a nice night’s sleep would mean the world to a family or caregiver of a Hospice patient, that’s when our Vigil Volunteers jump into action. The Vigil Volunteer has the opportunity to be touched in a most fulfilling way. Vigil Volunteers offer their time to sit bedside at the “Eleventh Hour” to be observant, be a calming voice to let our patient know they are not by themselves or to be the benevolent, sympathetic presence that helps the family through the last phase of their Hospice experience. They have the palpable ability to find the strength and be a figure of substantial support to a family and/or individual that they probably have no genetic connection nor obligation to. They have the God-given power to fall in love with a person or family at the initial point of rendezvous and promote the commission of our “No One Dies Alone” policy with the utmost compassion and dignity. 

A Donation of Time is a Donation of Love” 

There are many supporting roles where Transitions volunteers provide impact.  Learn more >>