Volunteers Make All the Difference for Hospice Patients
Written by broebling on February 8, 2018
Press Release – Gillette resident Carol Jandreau has been familiar with Hospice programs for many years. But about four years ago, after retiring from administrative assistant work at a local coal mine, she decided she wanted to get more involved with Campbell County Health’s Hospice program, and became a volunteer.
Each week, Carol spends several days visiting with patients and their families in the patient’s home, the hospital, long-term care facility, Close to Home Hospice Hospitality House, or anywhere the patient calls home. Volunteers like Carol can provide several services such as companionship, emotional support, reading, letter writing, errands, light housekeeping, respite, meals and visiting.
Even though some would find it difficult helping individuals with end-of-life-care, Carol sees it differently.
“For me, it’s not hard,” Carol said. “Sometimes they just need a friend. Just letting them know someone’s there is important.”
Oftentimes that means Carol spends several hours reading to patients or chatting about their lives. Sometimes it’s humming their favorite tune or just being a presence in their room while they’re resting so they’re not alone.
“They can say things to me that they hold back saying to their families,” Carol said. “You help carry whatever they’re carrying that day. I go with whatever they’re feeling.”
Volunteers like Carol are an important part of patient well-being, said Tina Dickey, Hospice volunteer coordinator. And, according to Tina, Carol is a true testament to the important role a volunteer can make.
“She’s just always there to do whatever needs to be done with a smile on her face,” Tina said. “She goes above and beyond all the time because she has a huge heart.”
There’s currently about 40 volunteers who volunteer for hospice on a regular basis to help with office paperwork, visit with patients, or assist with special events. Some bring cookies or other treats, while others just bring their time and helping manner to support patients and their families.
Always looking for more volunteers to assist in a variety of ways, Hospice is hosting a training March 19, 22, 26 and 29 that includes four hours of training each day. Those interested in volunteering must apply and complete a background check, fingerprinting and an interview prior to the training. The training is more extensive than some of the other trainings available through CCH because of the nature of the volunteer work and the relationship to the patients and their families, Tina said.
“They need to be compassionate and caring with a willingness to be there and do what needs to be done,” Tina said. “With our volunteers, a lot of them have had a personal Hospice experience.”
The training will go over the Hospice history and philosophy, as well as delve into sensitive subjects like grieving and the nature of end-of-life care.
“It has added a depth to my life,” Carol said. “They fulfill something in me. Volunteering for Hospice is the most meaningful volunteering I’ve ever done.”
Hospice volunteer applications can be downloaded at www.cchwyo.org/volunteer. For more information, contact CCH Volunteer Services Coordinator Chris Buxton at 688-1536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The application deadline is February 16, 2018.
Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer