Why not be a hospice volunteer?

In 2013 why not consider becoming a Hospice of Spokane (HOS) volunteer? There is always a need for dedicated, compassionate men and women to assist the Hospice team in the care plan for a patient and their family, particularly in the Tri-County area, says Volunteer Coordinator Sharon Angle. “It would be really nice to have more volunteers for this in our area, particularly men,” states Angle. “We hope people will take advantage of this training; all it requires is your time.” Hospice of Spokane is Northeast Washington's only nonprofit hospice serving Spokane, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Hospice care is a holistic approach to end-of-life care, addressing the medical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of the terminally ill person and their loved ones. Training will take place Feb. 26 and 28 and March 5, 7, 12, and 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Assembly of God Church at 516 E. Glen Ave. in Colville. A Hospice Volunteer candidate is required to take a 23-hour training, which encompasses topics surrounding the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of death and dying. Hands-on patient care is never assigned to a Hospice Volunteer. Instead, volunteers are prepared to sit with a patient, listen to care¬giver concerns, run errands, provide emotional support, and/or recognize the service of a military veteran enrolled in the Hospice program. According to Angle, Hospice of Spokane assists 40 to 50 families in the Tri-County area at any given time. Live the best they can while they can Unfortunately, the number of volunteers to attend to those families is slim, with 19 volunteers for all of Stevens County, 12 for Pend Oreille County and only nine for Ferry County. Angle states that more male volunteers would be appreciated to sit with male patients, particularly military veterans. “Everyone’s got their own reasons (for volunteering), but there might come a day when I need hospice services,” says George Terrill of Onion Creek, who has been a Hospice volunteer for four years. “I consider it an honor to do this kind of volunteer work. It’s an honor to be at the birth of a child and it’s also an honor to be present with a family at the time of death of a loved one.” Colville resident Ann Berger became a hospice volunteer after her husband Keith passed away in 2008. She was so impressed with the hospice volunteers that worked with her and her husband; she decided to take the training herself. “The nurses and volunteers were a blessing,” says Berger. “It helps the primary caregiver have a respite from their responsibilities, even if it’s only an hour for them to go shopping, read a book or just collect their thoughts. Hospice is there to help people live the best they can while they can.” For more information, or to sign up for training classes, call Angle at 509-935-0841. For more information about Hospice of Spokane, go to www.hospiceofspokane.org