In the Hospice Classroom

The Hospice Class at Harley, 2018

Students who enrolled in the Hospice program with Bob Kane experienced a course involving lectures and discussion, along with related readings, films, and journaling. Additionally, students put their learning into action by volunteering at local hospice care homes. Before beginning this service they were carefully trained in mouth care, proper turning and positioning, vital signs, pain management, massage, and other necessary care-giving skills.

The class began with an open forum where students shared their own personal experience with death. This helped the class to establish that death is a part of life, that we need community to get through it, and that we need to be vulnerable with one another in order to establish community.

Students then moved towards their end goal for this class, which was presence: to have the opportunity to sit and be with the dying person. Beyond this they established connections with the dying through loving tasks of service. The hope for graduating students was that they would leave Harley having confronted and connected with all aspects of life, including death.

As they formed relationships with the hospice patients, the students would ask for donations of cloth or photographs that were then used to create quilt squares that represented that individual patient. These were displayed at the end-of-year Ceremony of Remembrance, where the graduating seniors shared their experience and celebrated the lives of those they cared for.