By KIM NANCE
Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice
WARSAW — Sherri Nelson has worked at RR Donnelley for 34 years. At times during her career she worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Her current position requires less overtime, which allows her to have more time for her family and as a hospice volunteer.
Nelson decided to become a hospice volunteer after her younger brother died of cancer at the age of 40. She tried to do everything she could to help save her brother. “Never have I felt so helpless” Nelson said.
That is when she decided that helping hospice patients and their families would provide a purpose for the pain of her loss. Over the past 10 years, Nelson has visited hospice patients in their homes and nursing facilities, often remaining friends with the families she has supported long after the loss of their loved one.
“I volunteered to assist with a gentleman and got very close to his wife. When he passed away, I continued visiting his wife,” Nelson said. Several years later the wife needed hospice and Nelson was by her side as well. “I felt such a loss when she passed away, but I was thankful I got to help her and spend time with her, she would introduce me as her daughter,” Nelson said.
Tables turned and Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice staff was able to support Nelson and her family when her mother in-law passed away this year. A hospice nurse named Becca provided the nursing care.
“Becca was very kind to my mother in-law and the social workers and spiritual counselor helped our family after the loss with bereavement support,” Nelson said. “I wish I had had bereavement support after my brother died 10 years ago.”
Nelson’s co-workers and friends often ask why she became a hospice volunteer. “I feel I can bring comfort to patients and help ease the pain of the loss for their families because I understand that pain” she said.
Hospice volunteers help to fill the gap between family and the hospice professional. For more information about becoming a hospice volunteer or learning more about hospice care, call Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice at (574) 372-3401.