MRH Hospice Volunteer Program seeking individuals who want to make a difference
Volunteers 16 and older are needed to support hospice patients and their families
Sponsored content by Memorial Regional Health
With many rewarding volunteer opportunities to choose from, community members have several ways they can give back to others. Most people think of working in a food bank or tutoring others, but many don’t realize how fulfilling it can be caring for hospice patients.
Memorial Regional Health is currently seeking volunteers for its Hospice Volunteer Program, headed by Melissa Almon, a social worker for MRH Home Health and Hospice. Volunteers work within their scope of practice to assist patients and their families with their everyday needs. Under the supervision of an MRH social worker, volunteers provide support for hospice patients and their families in their homes or other care settings.
“Hospice volunteers have the opportunity to impact an individual’s end-of-life journey in a positive and meaningful way,” Almon said. “They have a long-lasting impact on patients and their families, helping them navigate a difficult time in their lives.”
Activities are based on the family’s requests and needs, which can include (but are not limited to) companionship, light housekeeping, reading to patients, pet sitting, running errands and other relevant duties. Anyone who is interested in community service is encouraged to reach out about the program.
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“While something as small as running an errand for a family may feel insignificant, it can be incredibly beneficial to the family,” Almon said. “Offering the family brief respite by spending time with and offering companionship to their loved ones can be invaluable.”
How to volunteer
Volunteers need to complete required documentation and ensure safety is prioritized when assisting patients. They must adhere to MRH company policy and the hospice philosophy, and they are expected to maintain professionalism in the work environment.
If you’re interested in volunteering for the Hospice Volunteer Program at MRH, you must meet the following requirements:
- 16 years of age or older
- Valid driver’s license and transportation
- Ability to pass a background check and drug screening
- Can commit a minimum of one hour per week (some flexibility here, given that there are not always hospice patients to be cared for)
- Ready to complete general training as well as Universal Precautions and Hand Hygiene training, CHOICE Values training, AIDET+P and Service Excellence training.
- Are comfortable with death and have not experienced a significant loss in the past year
- Are not under active treatment for a life-threatening illness or caring for someone with one
Why volunteer for hospice?
The pandemic temporarily brought the volunteer program to a halt, as most patients and their families chose to limit the number of people in their homes. Now that restrictions have been lifted, it’s important for the program to gain traction again, as volunteers are a valuable asset in the care of a patient.
“Volunteers are an important part of the team,” Almon said. “By losing this key team member, families and patients were not able to benefit from the support, care and companionship volunteers can offer.”
Volunteering for hospice is both challenging and rewarding. Through this type of volunteer work, you can make a positive impact at the end of an individual’s life when they need help the most. You can also create relationships with others in your community while learning more about the healthcare field.
“While death and dying are often conversations shied away from in daily conversation, they are a part of the life cycle,” Almon said. “Hospice volunteers are part of a multidisciplinary team that works together to ensure the end-of-life process is addressed in a way that maintains the dignity and worth of the dying individual while offering ongoing support to their loved ones.”
To volunteer or for more information, individuals should contact Almon at 970-826-8252 or Melissa.email@example.com.
The Memorial Regional Health Hospice team consists of nurses, physicians, chaplains and spiritual counselors, social workers, certified nurse aids, pharmacy staff, program directors and volunteers. It works as a multidisciplinary unit to provide consistent comfort and care to the patient and support to their family.
Every member of the team serves a unique role in end-of-life care. All team members are friendly and approachable and ensure volunteers feel supported in their volunteer roles. For more information about hospice services offered, call 970-824-6882 or learn more at memorialregionalhealth.com/healthcare-services/hospice.
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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. to include a response from the Bureau of Land Management’s national office.