Dec. 18, 2019 — The spirit of volunteerism is strong in Florence. Many of the service-oriented organizations in the area rely on the contributions of volunteers to maintain appropriate levels of support for those they serve. PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Hospital (PHPH) is one of the cornerstones of the Florence community and definitely counts on volunteers to fill any gaps in care provided to patients.
Monday, PHPH recognized the contributions volunteers, employees and community members have made in the past year to the organization with its annual PHPH “Spirit of Gratitude Feast.”
The event was held in the hospital’s cafeteria and is offered each year, at no charge, as a way for PeaceHealth to thank community members for the support they provide.
Jason Hawkins, chief administrative officer for PHPH, commented on the positive work done by hospital staff with the support of volunteers.
“We call this celebration our ‘Spirit of Gratitude Feast,’ and I think that really sums up the sentiment of the day,” he said. “We are so grateful to this community for its support and trust in us, and so grateful for the amazing team we have caring for patients in our hospital, clinics and beyond.
“This special day gives us an opportunity to reflect on all we have to be thankful for — and of course, to celebrate the holiday season together over a delicious meal and fellowship.”
Eunice Tevlin is one of the individuals that Hawkins is referring too when he discusses the contributions made by the PHPH team.
Tevlin has been volunteering at Peace Harbor for 27 years and this will be her last holiday season as a volunteer. She has volunteered in different ways over that time but has found that working with those individuals that are in hospice care is particularly rewarding. Tevlin has been involved with hospice care as one of the contact persons for patients that are in the final stages of their life, offering support and care for them as well as their family members fam-ily members.
Over the past few years, the importance of hospice as an element of the services offered at Peace Harbor has grown and Tevlin believes those changes are for the better.
“The program was started primarily to make sure patients didn’t run out of their meds on the weekends or if there was an emergency. But now, along with that, I talk with patients and their caregivers once a week,” Telvin said. “Sometimes it’s just business but other times the patient is alone — and they just want to talk to someone that will listen. Some people don’t want to talk about it at all, and you get that from the tone of their voice, and some of them want to tell you their life story.”
Tevlin has been involved with hospice before she and her late husband moved to Florence. Her experiences during that time have informed her current work. However, she admits that her age is becoming more of a factor in life, causing her to step back from her work.
“I’m 89 and I figure it is time to retire,” Telvin said. “Just being with people who are in crisis is re-ally important. When I worked with OB-GYN patients — and especially when I worked with oncology patients — I wasn’t on a time schedule, so I could spend time with them and hold their hand. I’ve been through it, so it was easier for me to anticipate what they were feeling.”
The work done by Tevlin is important, according to Karin Guy, volunteer coordinator for the PHPH Home Health and Hospice program.
“When I met Eunice earlier this year, I was impressed with her professionalism and grace. She shared that she made weekly phone calls to our hospice patients and families, not only asking what medications and supplies they needed, but making that important connection with someone who needs someone to just listen,” Guy said. “She provides a listening ear when the family or caregiver may be feeling overwhelmed and tired.”
Guy explained that getting a call from Eunice sounds like a breath of fresh air because it’s not simply a call to check on supplies, but much more important than that.
“And as we transition to a new electronic medical record system, this important service to our patients and families will continue,” Guy added. “As we worked together, I discovered that she had been the instrumental in the formation of our Light Up a Life event. She has given so much to our community and our team and has left an enduring legacy.”
Tevlin seems unaffected by the kind words from her supervisors and coworkers and believes that life itself has prepared her for the work she has done for more than a quarter century.
“It’s not that difficult when you get this old, you just get used to it. You are used to life and death and everything else,” Tevlin said with a wry smile. “And you get more out of it then you give, and it makes life worthwhile because you are doing something good. What else would I be doing. Hanging around the house?”
For more information on volunteering at PHPH, visit peacehealth.org.