Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hospice in Prison: Inmate Volunteers (Video 4:17 mins.)

Hospice volunteering continues to evolve and diversify. In previous posts, I have explored hospice volunteers for pets and hospice volunteer medical students. How about prison inmates as hospice volunteers? It’s a great solution, particularly for an aging prison population. If a terminally ill patient is in prison, attentive caregiving can be especially beneficial when given by familiar faces of those who have also experienced the prison system.

A partnership between the McDougall-Walker Correctional Institution and Hospice and Palliative Care of Connecticut trains inmates who volunteer for hospice service. Participants learn how to implement the hospice philosophy by using supportive strategies with fellow inmates who are dying. Inmates who volunteer realize that they may die in prison one day and would want quality end-of-life care for themselves.

Tone, the first terminally ill inmate to benefit from the hospice volunteer program speaks favorably about the activities he shares with his volunteer. He appreciates not having to feel isolated at such a critical time in his life. If he is still alive after he has served his sentence, he will continue in hospice care outside the prison system with a new volunteer.

At a more recent blog post, you can read about and view a video showcasing hospice volunteer inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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