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When Autumn Comes is recommended by Growth House as a resource for hospice volunteer training.

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When Autumn Comes: A Hospice Volunteer's Stories

When Autumn Comes

A Hospice Volunteer's Stories

By Mary Jo Bennett
Revised edition: 2006


When Autumn Comes explores death from the perspective of a hospice volunteer, recounting stories based on experiences with patients, friends, and family members, as they each approach dying on their own terms. This insightful and tender book provides a realistic introduction to what hospice volunteers actually do. It will also be of use to anyone seeking greater understanding and compassion in caring for the dying.

No two deaths are the same. Bennett profiles the deaths of eleven hospice patients who die from a variety of conditions. Each story has been carefully chosen to illustrate common themes in hospice care. Family dynamics, pain management, disturbing symptoms, and unexpected humor are all recounted with compassion and a matter-of-fact realism that can only be gained by bedside experience.

Good hospice volunteers approach every person as a unique individual, faced with a set of personal life issues that must be resolved. By encouraging opportunities to talk with the patient about their life history the hospice volunteer can play an important role in the psychosocial process of life review. Bennett also shares vignettes about her own family experience with death that help us understand how one's own experiences influence attitudes about dying.

When Autumn Comes is recommended by Growth House as a hospice volunteer training resource. Appendices include a list of terms used in hospice work, a bibliography of selected readings, and a list of online resources to learn more about hospice care.

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