April 26, 2023 at 5:36 p.m.

There for the patients

There for the patients
There for the patients

By Ben Sonnek- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Ladda enjoys volunteering in hospice care

Nobody should be alone toward the end of their life, and Becky Ladda began volunteering in hospice care to ensure that would not happen. She has been volunteering in this area for a few months, but meeting the patients, hearing their stories and simply being with them has kept her coming back to help.

“I am there not to get them through their death,” Ladda said. “I want them to live as much as they can in those last few months or weeks.”

Ladda and her family moved to Sauk Centre from Hanover about seven years ago because the cities were getting too congested. A graphic artist, she had never worked in health care before. In 2002, though, Ladda’s father-in-law, Herman Ladda, was very sick and had hospice care for a while, and six years later, her mother, LaVaine Utz, had hospice care for a few days.

“I thought it was an amazing thing for us,” Ladda said. “The people were just lovely. So, that had always been at the back of my mind.”

Ladda’s family has always been involved in volunteering. Ladda’s husband, Mark Ladda, was a volunteer firefighter for about 30 years, and the family always volunteered at the school and church in their area.

When they moved to Sauk Centre, Mark did a lot of traveling for work, and Ladda would go with him.

Then, Mark slowed down and his work didn’t need him to travel as much, so Ladda ended up with more time on her hands and started thinking more about volunteering in hospice care.

“About three years ago, we lost our son (Ryan),” she said. “Tragically, my son was alone when he passed.  That I wasn’t with him is one of the biggest regrets of my life. I sincerely believe no one should die alone.”

Ladda started volunteering at CentraCare-Sauk Centre Care Center, and after a few months, she officially began working in hospice care in January this year, visiting with one patient. Now she works with three patients at the Long Prairie Care Center.

As a volunteer, Ladda is not on a schedule. On a given day, she calls the patients’ nurses to find out when would be a good time to visit. She does not want to interrupt their sleep, family time, bingo or anything else.

“Luckily, these patients I’m seeing now, any time is a good time,” she said.

Activities can vary, depending on how the patient is feeling.

“I visit with them if they want to talk to me, and sometimes they don’t want to talk to me,” Ladda said. “Then, I’ll play music or read to them or sit. I’ll lotion or rub their hands or do something to let them know they’re not alone, that someone’s here with them. I try to spend a good hour with them. If they’re awake and want to chat, I can stay all day.”

Ladda receives a write-up in advance about what the patients’ interests are, what their careers were, what big events have happened for them recently and more.

“That opens them up a little more,” Ladda said. “I have a gentleman who is in the military, and he loves to talk about that.”

For Ladda, what keeps her coming back as a hospice volunteer are the people. She loves hearing their stories. Some of them cannot remember what they had for breakfast but can tell her stories from their childhoods like they were yesterday. Ladda also meets other care center residents, some of whom have their own stories to tell, and she always finds them interesting and enjoys their company.

And, as it turns out, the residents enjoy her company too.

“I ask them if it’s OK if I come back and visit them,” Ladda said. “Every one of them said yes.”


You must login to comment.


Top Stories

Today's Edition