“There are so many different things that a hospice volunteer can do to provide valuable assistance,” says Susie Compton, RN, director of Hamilton Home Health and Hamilton Hospice. “Volunteering could involve directly assisting patients and families, or it could be working behind the scenes in our office.”
Some Hamilton Hospice volunteers assist with home improvement projects that can make the patient more comfortable or sit with patients in order to give family members a break from their caregiving responsibility. Or they may prefer to donate their time and talents to assist the hospice staff in important office tasks such as filing, mailing and making phone calls.
Hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to a terminally ill patient’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the patient’s loved ones as well. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing, and ensuring an emphasis on the quality of life. In most cases, care is provided where the patient lives, whether in a home, nursing home or assisted living. Hospice care can also be provided in the hospital for patients who are eligible for that level of care.
Care is provided to the patient’s loved ones as well. Caregivers receive support during the course of the patient’s illness, and bereavement and grief support is available for families and caregivers for one year after the death of a patient.
Hospice services are available to patients of any religion, race or end-stage illness, and care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans and other managed care organizations. Care is also provided to those with no means to pay, to ensure that all people receive dignified compassionate care at the end of life. To offset the cost of providing care and bereavement services, Medicare requires that hospices utilize volunteers in caregiving and office activities.
Being a hospice volunteer requires a brief training of a few hours, in addition to a general volunteer orientation that the individual receives through Hamilton Medical Center. Volunteers receive information on the mission of hospice, the kind of care that is provided, the various roles that can support a patient and a family in a very challenging time, and tasks that can support the hospice clerical and clinical staff. No medical training is required, and there is no minimum requirement of hours to serve.
“An important aspect of being a hospice volunteer is understanding that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold on to, and a heart to understand,” says Megan Little, Hamilton Hospice volunteer and bereavement coordinator.
For more information about becoming a Hamilton Hospice volunteer, call Little at 706-278-2848. Information is also available ONLINE.