Volunteer Spotlight: Lynn Brennan with Capital Caring
When many of Capital Caring’s hundreds of volunteers tell people that they spend their free time helping to care for patients with life-limiting illnesses, they often get three typical reactions:
1) “Oh, my gosh, you are such a good person.” This is usually said with a heavy accent on the word “good,” and sometimes paired with a facial expression of awe normally saved for visitors potentially just arrived by UFO.
2) “Isn’t that depressing?” This response is normally accompanied by a slight shoulder slump and facial cringe.
3) “Why would you want to do that?? Please note italics because this comment is often paired with an incredulous facial expression transmitting less wonder and more slight terror.
Luckily, there are also many people who have a very decidedly different reaction and immediately say: “Wow, that’s awesome, where can I sign up?”
One person who truly understands the value and importance of volunteering for hospice is Capital Caring Volunteer Lynn Brennan. During her 25-year career as a physical therapist in the DC area Lynn met and worked one-on-one with hundreds of patients in varying degrees of illness. She loved working with them all, but those patients who were alone and often challenged by difficult illness left a mark on Lynn. Even before she retired, she knew in her retirement she wanted to remain working in healthcare and chose to give her dedication to hospice work. She wanted to be there for those who were often alone at the end of life.
So, she did just that. More than 15-years ago Lynn began volunteering with Capital Caring at the Halquist Center in Arlington Virginia. She has logged almost 5000-hours providing patient care and administrative services. On average that is between 400 and 450 hours annually.
When you ask Lynn what she thinks are the most important qualities to bring to patients at Halquist, she will simply say “empathy and compassion.”
Lynn’s advice to anyone who is interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, but may be a little uncertain, is to always remember that as much as the staff relies on volunteers, they are also here for the volunteers and will provide support and direction. It truly is a team.
Most of all, Lynn reminds all and any potential hospice volunteers to, “Remember, you are doing a positive thing for the patients.” I think it’s safe to say the Capital Caring staff and all the patients and family members Lynn has cared for would tell her the same thing.
Capital Caring’s Halquist Center is open 24 hours a day, seven day a week. If you are interested in volunteering at Halquist or any of Capital Caring’s locations, please contact us at https://www.capitalcaring.org. We’d love to have you become a member of our team.