H.A.N.D.S.

During their junior year, Harley students have the opportunity to reach out to the dying at the Leo Center for Caring, located at St. Anne’s Community. Harley juniors receive training through Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) and have augmented training from Hospice Corps. The focus is on “crossing the threshold” and being present with the dying and their families. No hands-on care is done, as the LCC is a licensed facility and therefore requires licensed caregivers. The purpose of H.A.N.D.S (Helping And Nurturing Delivered by Students) is for the participating students to become familiar with what it is like to be in the presence of a dying person and their loved ones. This is all about interrelation and empathetic skills. The object of this familiarity is to soften the students’ hearts before they may choose to enroll in the full-year Hospice elective during their senior year. This softening happens by the students being able to “cross the threshold” of a dying stranger’s space, carrying their own anxieties, fears, customs, beliefs and hopes with them as they journey in the presence of death. They are taught how to approach the sick and their families, relationship-building skills, empathetic listening and tips on how to engage in such a delicate situation. Students travel to the LCC in groups of 2-4, with the guidance of a hospice educator, twice a week.

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