WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s a full time for Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice. According to staff, it is one of the oldest nonprofit hospices in Wichita, established by volunteers in the 1980s.

Now leaders say due to COVID-19 they are back where they started, in need of volunteers.

“Palliative care is mandated by the federal government to have 5% of their working hours come from volunteers,” said Karen Sherbak, director of volunteers at Harry Hynes.

When people can spend hours playing with animals or laughing with children, hospice care is not always the first choice for people.

“It’s hard for people to understand if they haven’t had a family member or something like that or if they haven’t been affected by it,” said Mike Palmer, Harry Hynes volunteer. Hospice.

Most people find their way into volunteering at Harry hynes the same way after a loved one has received care.

“We came to the hospice when my wife’s oncologist informed us that we had reached a point where there was nothing we could do about the treatments, and we needed to make arrangements to make the rest of her time as comfortable. as possible, ”Palmer said.

Mike Palmer and his wife Terry

Mike’s wife, Terry, has battled pancreatic cancer.

Twenty-two years later, Mike has kept his pledge, for better or for worse, until death do our part.

“Not only did they come to do their job, but they taught me what to do in their absence and how to do things. You know, anyone who thought you needed to change a diaper or something, ”Mike said.

While the nurses and staff took care of Terry physically, Mike was emotionally supported.

After Terry passed away, Mike returned as a volunteer.

“I really didn’t want to be involved in direct patient care, it was still pretty crude for me,” Mike said.


“We came to the hospice when my wife’s oncologist informed us that we had reached a point where there was nothing we could do about the treatments, and we needed to make arrangements to make the rest of her time as comfortable. as possible.”

Mike Palmer, Harry Hynes Hospice Volunteer


He was put to volunteer work in other ways, helping around the office.

“You know that whatever shape or form you are, you are helping families facing horrific and horrific circumstances, and no matter what form of volunteering you do, whether it is quilting or whether it is cooking, whether it’s sitting with the patient or being here and doing spreadsheets, ”Mike said.

“There is something for everyone. “

Spending time volunteering, focusing on dying, might not be appealing to other nonprofits, for Mike it brought new joy to life.

” You can not be wrong. You won’t regret doing it and you will meet some fantastic people along the way, ”said Mike.

Harry Hynes volunteers go through an orientation program. Harry Hynes officials say the program teaches potential volunteers “everything there is to know about palliative care.”

Here are some volunteer opportunities:

  • Patient / family support
  • End of life support / transition to comfort
  • Mourning
  • Pharmacy delivery (Wichita only)
  • Staff support
  • Hospitalization unit (UPI)
  • Education
  • Cooking and baking
  • Sewing and knitting
  • Memory garden

Harry Hynes Memorial is also looking to expand volunteer services, including music and pet therapy, spiritual elements, and storytelling.

A volunteer request can be found online.

Or people can email [email protected] or call 316-219-1720.