Free Palliative Care in Romania:
Hospice, "The House of Hope"
Photo : Fundraising marathon
Nowadays, we hear more and more the phrase "compassion is what makes us human". Undoubtly, you have felt it. I have felt it too. Everybody is aware of its importance. There it is, in the depth of your heart, somehow locked, but permanently ready to start a fire if needed. Due to the fact that it is probably impossible for us to live isolated in our homes like caves, all we need in the roughest times of our existence may be a smile to bring us hope and some love sprinkled on the top of our open wounds to give us not only hope, but also healing. This is what "HOSPICE, The House of Hope" has to offer to the suffering people living in Romania.
This non-guvernmental, non-profit organization has been able to "make every day count" for its patients since 1992 when it was set up as an Anglo-Romanian partnership. With a veritable team of doctors, nurses, psychologists, as well as volunteers and specialists in the palliative care, "Hospice" helps the terminally ill children and adults to never give up, to celebrate and value each second they have by improving their life quality and supporting their families too.
The role of this medical foundation is by far the most vital in the community's life. Beatrice, the coordinator of the volunteers told me that "for our community, the palliative care offers dignity, understanding and encouragement for those who are said there is nothing left to do. Our free services are actually the ones that contradict this thing: there is always something to do for the patient and his familly. To have access to this type of care means psychological, social and spiritual support, to enjoy every minute that passes without pain. For those kneeled by a life limiting disease, it means some respite moments and reconciliation with both themselves and the people they have around. What could be more human-like than being next to your fellows in one of the most important moments in their lives? The Hospice Team is glad to know the answer for this question and is also thankful for the priviledge it has in this kind of situations. Our community has the chance to benefit freely of these services, they are lucky to know they can rely anytime on specialists and volunteers who will not judge them, but bring normality in their lives, where everyone else would see desparation and fight in vain".
Also, a 16 year-old volunteer, Anda, stated that "recently I found out how important palliative care is. And Brasov and Bucharest are two extremely lucky cities in Romania thanks to the Hospice. There is no other place in this sense where people don't have to pay for the services and so everything is much easier for them". She also added that "regarding the volunteers, they are really useful because the staff can focus better on patients if they give a helping hand in some departements."
The activity of volunteers plays an essential role in everything that happens at "The House of Hope". Besides their voluntary work at the "Hospice" building, the Hospice Team also invests energy in outside activities when there are fundrainsers through different campaigns, charitable events or concerts. It seems like fighting for a specific cause is something they love very much. The amount of sincere feelings the volunteers possess is enormous and can be clearly seen by their total devotion and implication when they represent this non-profit organization. For instance, Andreea, 18, who has been a Hospice volunteer for over two years, admitted that "in a world in which the people are more and more concerned only for themselves, I consider that the ones who give some time from their life for a cause are admirable. Volunteering changed me a lot. I became calmer, more sociable and I learnt that if you truly wish to do something, you can. I advise everyone to try at least once to volunteer for a cause he or she believes in because it quickens the growth of your heart like nothing else ".
The atmosphere at this medical organization is described as being "always welcoming, peaceful. It is the place where everyone feels accepted and special in his or her own way. You cannot tell the difference between a volunteer and a pacient, we are all getting so well with one another, we're like a familly", adds Gabriela, age 17.
Another volunteer, Maria, who is 47 years old, talked about her experience at Hospice Brasov as it is a part of her life: "I began to volunteer in the administrative department with little steps, pretty shy. But my desire was to be able to spend my time with the children patients from Hospice. After the first day, I felt incapable, overwhelmed. I wish I was able to do more for them. I wish I had a magic wand to cure them and to give them a happy childhood. But later I found out I cannot and then, when remembering this life lesson I've learnt, I could manage to continue. Since then, Hospice, "The House of Hope" is a part of my life. I offered time and soul and I received thankfullness, good friends; I discovered qualities I didn't know I had, I jumped out of comfort zones. I think that volunteering is the most beneficial form of personal development."
Hospice, "The House of Hope", is only an example of how beautiful life could be. It depends on how we choose to live it. In fact, we might easily addmit that we extract our esence of life from the inside. In the moments when we feel lost or defeated by circumstances, we return where we are the most powerful, the most "alive" and conscious. Haven't you ever felt this? And maybe this is why we can endure everything. Because there is definitely a cure when everybody says it is not. We are living together for a reason and I love to think that this reason is to make a difference in someone's life. This is compassion. This is true love and life. Have I left anything out?