Stillwater News Press

August 30, 2010

Making a Difference 8-29-10

Oklahoma State student takes her dog with her to visit hospice patients


Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Melanie Caughlin and her English bulldog, Duchess, bring joy and companionship a couple hours a week to patients of Judith Karman Hospice in Stillwater.

“I enjoy volunteering because it is something I am passionate about and want to do something good for others. I choose to volunteer because of the personal benefits that volunteering has,” Caughlin, 22, said.

As an Oklahoma State University human development and family sciences student, Caughlin was required to complete 360 hours for her internship course. She was accepted as an intern with Judith Karman Hospice, a non-profit agency serving terminally ill patients and their families in Stillwater and surrounding communities.

She attended a nine hour training that taught her the history and philosophy of hospice as well as the effective skills for providing companionship and respite care to patients.

Patient care volunteers visit patients and help with everything from providing companionship to allowing caregivers respite time to run errands and keep appointments.

Caughlin said she found that bringing her 6-year-old dog, Duchess, along for the visits provided a conversation starter and friendship when interacting with the patients.

“Personally I would say that the experiences have made me a better person,” she said. “In most cases, I became more concerned and aware of the problems facing the world.”

Judith Karman Hospice is recruiting new volunteers to help in patient care, bereavement, Karman Korner resale shop, administrative office and as occasional helpers with special events, or any combination of the possibilities.

 All volunteer positions require training from JKH staff. New volunteer training is scheduled for Sept. 15-16. Core training, required for all volunteers, will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 15. Volunteers wishing to train for patient care will continue with training from 5:30 p.m. 8 p.m. Sept. 16.

Anyone interested in volunteering should call Valerie Bloodgood, volunteer coordinator, at 405-377-8012 for information. Reservations are required to attend the training sessions.

Do you know someone who makes a difference in the community? Send nominations to family@stwnewspress.com.