Get to Know…Jill Janis, Volunteer

| By Jodi Horton

Editor’s Note: This column features people who keep things running behind the scenes and those who are on the “front lines,” providing care to our patients. All of the Casa employees and volunteers have been asked to answer five questions. The first three emphasize their hospice care work and the last two give you just a little taste of who they are besides a hospice worker or volunteer.

Jill JanisQ: What led you to volunteer for a hospice organization?

A: I wanted to know more about dying and death, to help prepare me for my own dying and death. I wanted to have exposure to the aged and the sick, to help me overcome some of my fear and distaste for those states of being. I was hoping the hospice would be interested in hiring me to teach communication skills. (The first two are still happening; the third did not happen.)

Q: What are your volunteer responsibilities?

A: I have mostly been a patient companion – in patients’ homes, in patients’ childrens’ homes,  in nursing homes, at Kanmar. I have been trained in vigil care, but have never been called to do that. I received bereavement care, and for a while made follow-up bereavement phone calls. I have worked with bereavement patients.

Q: In your opinion, what value does hospice bring to healthcare?

A: Hospice helps the dying person in every way—honoring of wishes, dignified death, pain relief, etc. Hospice helps the dying person’s family—honoring of wishes, bereavement care, etc. Hospice helps the public understand dying and death. Hospice brings dignity to death.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

A: I enjoy horseback riding, reading, traveling. I enjoy maintaining my relationships and friendships. I enjoy my work—organizing homes and things and papers and tasks and time—people!

Q: When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to be a poet.

Two bonus Q&As!

Q: What is one thing on your bucket list?

A: I want to own my own two horses, but must first be financially secure enough to have a home in the country and the means to care for them. Failing that, I want to take a pony trekking trip, anywhere in the world would do (Iceland? Morocco? Ireland?)

Q: If you could meet anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

A: I would like to meet my father, who has been dead since I was 12 years old. He was an intelligent, active, adventuresome, well-traveled, educated, socially-concerned man. As an MD, he was hired to help design a health care system for newly-occupied Japan. He was an advocate of universal health care (and so am I).

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