For the love of volunteering

As we conclude our #HospiceVisits with Overstrand Hospice we had a sit down with Bridget De Beer who is currently volunteering at this amazing hospice.

Tell us a bit about your background?

I was born in Cape Town and raised in Kwazulu-Natal. My journey in the nursing world started at Grey’s hospital in Pietermaritzburg. After my time spent at Greys, I then ventured off to Johannesburg and did operating theatre techniques. Each experience I went through in the different hospitals I had worked, I was fortunate enough to apply my skills and knowledge that I had learnt during my studies. I was always able to put a theory to practice.

When did you become aware of Overstrand hospice?

When my husband and I retired from our jobs we both moved to Hermanus. I was aware of “hospice” and in particular Overstrand Hospice and the great work that they are doing in the community. One day I remember them having a drive, looking for fundraisers and I thought to myself, well I am not much of a fundraiser but I have a good amount of skills in terms of nursing!

I always wanted to give back to the community and I knew giving back to hospice would be ideal, I then enquired about any opportunity to volunteer and fortunately I was put into contact with Sr. Saskia who was really excited to take me on board.

How often do you spend time volunteering at Overstrand hospice?  

I spend three days a week at Overstrand hospice, and at times a full week because there is so much to do. It is a real privilege for me to do this work and to give back and I could not have imagined spending my time at any better place than that of Overstrand hospice.

Tell us about your average day?

I try and see as many patients as needs be. I go to the patient’s home and help wherever I can in terms of support, being at the bed side and just being present for them. It’s truly a moving experience because having the extra presence helping them get along their journey of illness really does help them a lot.

Perception versus reality

At times I have experienced people who are not very knowledgeable about hospice and palliative care, which is not surprising because they are the majority who have not experienced it, so they have perceptions and perceptions that are not necessarily correct. The reality is that those who have anything to do with hospice are very much aware of the compassion, support, and help that comes along with this very important and enriching practice.

Find out more about Overstrand hospice here, as well as how you can become a volunteer.