You can make a difference in the life of a terminally ill person and their family by volunteering with Hospice.
April is designated as spring volunteer training month, and appreciation to volunteers will be extended during the Ashe County Volunteer Recognition program.
To help inform the public of the only local Hospice program and recruit volunteers, Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Richardson set up a display at West Jefferson Post Office last week.
“We are getting geared up for volunteer training and appreciation for volunteers in April, and Camp Sunshine (grief counseling just for children) in July,” said Richardson. “We also have a cookbook with stories from Hospice patients and caregivers. Those stories are so touching.”
As she talked about Hospice services, a postal customer stopped at the display.
“If it hadn’t been for Hospice, I don’t know what I wold have done,” said Carolyn McKinney of Jefferson. “My mother passed away a few years ago. My dad volunteers now, in Avery County. I can never say enough about Hospice. I’ll always be so grateful.”
Hospice emphasizes caring rather than curing, it is written in a pamphlet about the services. At a time when life expectancy is uncertain, hospice helps patients and their families make the most of every day.
Hospice care is for individuals with a life limiting illness or a rapid decline in health and who agree with the hospice philosophy to not seek curative treatment, but to focus on quality of life. Care is provided in the patient’s own home and also in assisted living, hospitals and nursing homes.
Volunteers are also needed for the Transitions program through Hospice High Country Health Care System. This program provides volunteer and case management services to individuals with a life limiting illness and their families by providing support before, during and after medical treatment or hospitalization. The program provides respite breaks for caregivers and helps a patient with activities of daily living as well as providing bereavement support to the patient and family.
So what does a volunteer do?
Hospice volunteers provide companionship to patients, provide respite for caregivers, help with fundraising events, share a special talent, help in the office and reach out to the community.
Volunteer training will take place April 17, 19, 24 and 26 with the choice of a morning session on those days from 9 a.m. to noon and an evening session from 5-8 p.m. Training will take place in the Ashe Hospice conference room on N.C. 16 S in Jefferson. A volunteer can attend either the morning or afternoon session but must attend on all four dates. Pre-registration is appreciated.
To learn more about Hospice and how to become a volunteer, call 246-6443 or visit highcountryhospice.org.