20130926Hospice (Lauren Crest)-2
(Photo by Lauren Crest) Shar Sweeney, administrator for Inspiration Hospice, explains the benefits of hospice to audience members.

The Center for Diversity and Unity hosted several hospice speakers from Inspiration Hospice on Thursday. The presentation by Diane Bodily and Shar Sweeney helped students and faculty better understand the intricacies of the hospice program, which involves the care of patients with six months or less left to live, and encouraged Weber State University students to help serve individuals in their area.

“Hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care,” said Sweeney, who explained that the service provides access to medical professionals and care to those who need it.

She gave an example featuring a caregiver who had been attempting to care for an eligible patient alone and not utilizing the provided services because of the misconceptions the caregiver had about hospice.

“We have to get past the H-word and connecting it with death,” Sweeney said. “The services that can be provided, free of charge, for this entire (six-month) period are invaluable to families. Most people just aren’t aware that (hospice) can help them the way that it can.”

Bodily invited WSU students to get involved with volunteering within the hospice program.

“This is a valuable opportunity for anyone that would like to give back to the community by being matched with a patient who finds themselves in need,” she said.

Chanuk Jeong, the community chair for the Center for Diversity and Unity and certified volunteer with Inspiration Hospice, said hospice is not an easy topic to discuss. Still, Jeong said he could not emphasize enough the positive experience Inspiration Hospice provides.

“This is really amazing experience for me, and for the patients . . . I (had) kind of a hard time before (volunteering with Inspiration Hospice),” Jeong said. “Staying (in another country) is not easy at all. The culture and language barrier . . . all of those things make me uncomfortable and lonely. After I (began volunteering), I realized how I was stupid. All the patients envy my every single second and my young age. For them, what they really want is not money, nice car, nice house, good food — but my time.”

Jeong described the satisfaction he’s gotten from interacting with the patients in even the smallest ways.

“Even that little stuff can give to other huge happiness,” he said. “I just want Weber State University to know this feeling.”

Many students attended the event, including those preparing to enter the medical field. One such program has reached its 60th anniversary. WSU’s prestigious nursing program began in 1953 under the direction of Ruth Swenson, who aided WSU in the participation of a pilot program that revolutionized nursing programs across the country.

Mildred Montag, a doctoral student at Teacher’s College and director of the Adelphi College School of Nursing, designed the rigorous associate’s degree in nursing as an alternative to the programs that were standard at the time. What started as several community college pilot programs has grown to encompass more than 900 programs across the country.

Events such as the presentation by Inspiration Hospice help to more closely engage the medical community of Ogden with WSU students soon to be entering the work force.

The Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions School of Nursing’s mission is “to prepare nurses at the practical, associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree levels while offering an academic setting wherein excellence, global awareness, and diversity are core values.” Volunteering opportunities like those presented through Inspiration Hospice directly correlate with this mission by giving students real-world experience with patients.

Bodily said she believes every student, regardless of their interest in entering the medical field, would benefit from volunteering in the program.

“Whether you are in the nursing programs, pre-med, engineering, accounting or even working on generals . . . to be able to make a difference in someone’s day by sitting with them and visiting for an hour each week is amazing.”

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