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Care Dimensions volunteer Geoff Pope performs reiki on a hospice patient he visits regularly at the patient's home.
Care Dimensions volunteer Geoff Pope performs reiki on a hospice patient he visits regularly at the patient's home.

My Path to Helping People at End of Life

Posted on February 22, 2023 by Geoff Pope

My journey to becoming a reiki volunteer at Care Dimensions began many years ago when I read a newspaper article about two sisters from my town who had taken volunteer training at the Kaplan Family Hospice House. Having completed divinity school, I was encouraged by their story. If someone felt the call to walk with people at the end of life, they had a path to follow.

My path included some detours. Instead of ministry, I was drawn to human services. For many years I worked with adults who had intellectual disabilities. I also took introductory reiki training.

Hospice brings comfort

More recently, my parents both entered hospice within an 18-month period, and I became a part-time caregiver. The care they – and our family members – received was phenomenal and a great comfort to all of us. Another seed had been planted; I had seen the value of a committed and compassionate hospice team.

A year after my mom died, I sought more reiki training. Reiki is a Japanese relaxation technique/complementary therapy thought to harmonize a person’s electromagnetic energy field with the energies of Nature - some more subtle than others. Recipients often report a greater sense of calm and peacefulness after a session.

Providing reiki as hospice volunteer

By chance, my reiki teacher, Karen Pischke, had another student who was offering reiki at the Kaplan Family Hospice House, so I simply followed in her footsteps. I received additional training at Care Dimensions and have been offering reiki to hospice patients in their homes for nearly five years.

As a Care Dimensions hospice volunteer, I put my interests to greatest use in bringing comfort and relaxation to patients through reiki. Not every patient experiences reiki in the same way, but when a person feels more relaxed physically or emotionally after a session, it is extremely gratifying for both of us.

Providing reiki for hospice patients is one of many volunteer opportunities at Care Dimensions. Offering simple companionship can make a big difference for patients and families. Being one small part of a larger hospice care team is indeed life-altering. I suspect every Care Dimensions volunteer – in whatever activity they are engaged – has shared moments of joy and peace with patients that seem of another, more lasting world.

Learn about Care Dimensions’ volunteer opportunities and training.

About the author
Geoff Pope is a Care Dimensions hospice and reiki volunteer who practices a branch of reiki called Komyo ReikiDo. He resides in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. 

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Since 1978, Care Dimensions, formerly Hospice of the North Shore,  has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in over 100 communities in Massachusetts.

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