Central Coast Hospice seeks volunteers
– Central Coast Hospice is seeking volunteers to offer patients and their families comfort, support & companionship during a patient’s most challenging days, weeks and months.
Many have been touched by the experience of hospice care – either within their own family or through a friend, neighbor, or co-worker. Volunteers report they are motivated by a desire to give something back, but soon find that the spiritual and emotional rewards they receive far outweigh the time and caring they contribute.
The gift of a volunteer’s presence and concern provides patients with an awareness that they are cared for and are not alone. Families and patients continue to express a deep appreciation for the selfless contributions of the many volunteers who visit their loved ones.
“When people find out that I volunteer to visit hospice patients the reaction is often less than positive,” wrote Dawn Hafner, author of the piece, 6 Things I’ve Learned About Life by Working With Hospice.
“Yes, the people I visit are facing the most difficult event we will face in life. But, I can tell you that nothing is more uplifting than seeing all the falsities of life stripped away. What remains is simply the beautiful human being and sacred soul that we all are. We spend so much time distracting ourselves, entertaining ourselves and even deluding ourselves during our lifetime,” Hafner said. “When the end of life is near all of that falls away. People get real. What really matters rises to the surface, and quickly.”
All interested community members are asked to attend a four-week volunteer training prior to being matched with a patient. The upcoming training will take place at the Paso Robles CCH office and will be held over four consecutive Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., from Oct. 1-22. Lunch will be provided, pre-registration required. For reservations and more information, click here.
Who can be a Central Coast Hospice Volunteer?
People of diverse ages (18 yrs. and older) and backgrounds join the hospice team to offer services to patients in their homes or in nursing homes. They often help to provide the emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical support patients need during their last months. Volunteers simply need a caring heart and a willingness to serve. Hospice’s comprehensive volunteer training program provides an awareness of patients’ needs and prepares them to participate fully with the hospice team.
Volunteers are never asked to do something they are not comfortable doing. If the intensity of working with patients and loved ones is not the right fit, they can support our work in a host of other important ways (office, events, outreach, etc.).
What Does a Volunteer Do?
Hospice volunteers can do just about anything! As a hospice volunteer you will be given choices as to how much and what types of things you want to do. Some examples of typical volunteer duties are:
• Listening to a patient’s concerns.
• Being a comforting and supportive presence.
• Hold a hand, bake a cake, listen to cherished memories, pat a shoulder, give a hug, touch a heart, or change a life (maybe your own).
• Engaging in the patient’s hobbies; for example, playing a board game or discussing current events.
• Informing other hospice staff of the needs of the hospice patient and family.
• Running errands or doing light housekeeping for the patient and family.
• Encouraging the patient to share her/his life story.
• Allowing time for the caregiver to take care of her/himself.
• Providing bereavement support to families following patient’s death (additional training provided).
• Providing respite to the patient’s family so they can run errands, take a walk, enjoy time with friends, etc
Volunteers are asked to be available to serve patients 3-4 hours a week.
What Training Will I Receive?
If you choose to work directly with patients and loved ones, you will experience the fulfillment of helping to support patients and families through one of life’s most complex passages. All volunteers receive training to ensure they feel comfortable with their tasks. Training covers the following areas:
• Philosophy of hospice care.
• A comprehensive overview of services offered by the hospice.
• Physical, emotional, social and spiritual issues that people can encounter at the end of life.
• Individual needs, including emotional support, emergency procedures, and universal precautions.
• An overview of chronic and life-limiting illnesses.
• Effective communication skills when speaking with the patient and family members.
• Information about interpersonal family issues and relationships.
• Boundaries for the hospice volunteer and the patient and family.
• Basic information about grief and loss.
Hospice volunteers work in the office too! These duties include:
• Mailings and photocopying
• Preparing admission packets for the nurses
• Data Entry
• Preparing for volunteer training
• Assisting with events
How do I Get Started?
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, call today to schedule an interview with the volunteer coordinator, who will explain more about the application process discuss the range of opportunities and advise you of the dates of our next training sessions. For those that cannot attend the upcoming October training sessions, other training dates are available. For more information, visit the website at: www.centralcoasthospice.com or call: (805) 540-6020 and ask for the volunteer coordinator.