Volunteer Spotlight: Maureen Karsnia

At Hospice of the Red River Valley, we’re fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers. The Volunteer Spotlight celebrates their contributions to the organization and the ways they enrich our patients’ lives.

Click here to find more information about our volunteer program and learn how to apply.

Maureen Karsnia

Volunteer: Maureen Karsnia
Location: Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Volunteer role: Patient Care Volunteer
Volunteering since: February 2016

Why do you volunteer with Hospice of the Red River Valley?
I formed a friendship with an older lady who had cancer and realized the treatments weren’t working. She asked if I would go  through the dying process with her. She didn’t want to die alone. I agreed, but I wished I could have done better. I had thought often of volunteering for Hospice, and I knew I could get training and be more effective by learning which topics are comfortable to speak about and how to be comfortable with silence. I decided to make the call and the commitment because I wanted to do it!

What is your favorite volunteer memory?
One of the very special memories is from a patient who died last spring in a memory care unit. She was almost to the non-responsive stage. I went to visit her after Mother’s Day and saw all these cards. I read each of them to her, and each time I read the name, she smiled a bit. I could tell she was comforted by that. I was able to tell her family, and they were comforted, as well.

What special skills do you share with our patients?
I truly am at ease with all of my patients that I have met. I’m comfortable around people, and I understand we are all different but we are all alike in some ways. If we can all be kind and loving to each other, we become friends. When we can share things, we both gain from that friendship.

What are two personal habits that have served you well?
I need to have a purpose in life. To spend time with someone who is dying, that is a wonderful purpose. I ask myself a lot, “What would Jesus do?” Many times the answer is very simple. I don’t think Jesus intends for anyone to die alone.

What are your hobbies?
I go for coffee and play tennis with my friends. I love to read, and I enjoy substitute teaching part-time. I love spending time with my grandkids. I love life and my husband, and we love Detroit Lakes. We have been very blessed!