The Northern Illinois Hospice “11th Hour Team” was nominated for the 2013 United Way Volunteer Group of the Year. And they won!
The team was recognized at the United Way’s volunteer awards luncheon on April 24. During the event, NIH Volunteer Coordinator Sheila O’Leary shared what an amazing contribution this group makes to the patients and families served by the hospice.
Established to provide a trusted, supportive and peaceful presence during the dying process, NIH’s 11th Hour Team members are on-call weekdays, weeknights and every weekend. Working with limited, advance notice, they calmly respond to frequent changes in scheduling needs and patient conditions.
They are a high functioning team and, at the same time, their work is mostly solitary with brief overlaps between team members as shift coverage changes.
Team members often receive limited individual recognition, as they stay with patients when family members are taking a much needed break or are unable to be with their loved ones, or when facility staffers are attending to other responsibilities.
Members of this group often are a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and serve as silent witnesses to the sacred passage of a life from this world to the next.
“Our Eleventh Hour Volunteers are a blessing to Northern Illinois Hospice and our patients and families,” O’Leary said. “I believe each one of them has a calling to serve in this remarkable way, and it shines through again and again in their willingness and their presence.
“This award is much deserved, overdue recognition for the important work that these dedicated individuals quietly do while serving our patients and their families,” O’Leary added.