Hospice looking for volunteers

September 19, 2003|HERB BROCK

Have a few extra hours a month to spare? Looking for a way to use those hours to help somebody in need? Want to make a new friend?

If the answer to each of those questions is "yes," you might consider becoming a volunteer with Heritage Hospice, a Danville-based, nonprofit organization which serves nearly 100 patients and clients in Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties.

Heritage Hospice is conducting a training session for volunteers from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Monday at the organization's office at 337 W. Broadway in Danville. For more information about the session or the volunteer program, call Wendy Cox, director of volunteers, at 236-2425.

"We have 55 dedicated, wonderful volunteers but we always need more people," said Cox.

"If a person has even just an hour a month, we would welcome their help," Janelle Lane, executive director of the program, said. "There are no requirements or prerequisites, just a willingness to lend a hand to a person who needs a little help around the house as well as companionship."


The only screening involves matching volunteers with patients and clients," Cox said. "We try to put people together who are similar in age and backgrounds and share the same interests and personalities."

Volunteers perform several functions, including light housekeeping, some cooking and running errands. They also provide caregivers time for taking breaks.

"More important than any chores that they may do is the companionship and friendship the volunteers provide the client or patient," said Cox.

Hospice provides two basic levels of care:

* Medical care - for patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live. This level involves regular attention from the organization's clinical care team of nurses, nurse assistants and social workers under the direction of a physician. This care is provided in the home or a nursing facility.

* Transitional care - for clients with a prognosis of one year or less to live. While the client is monitored by the clinical staff, this level essentially involves non-medical attention with volunteers playing a central role and normally takes place in the client's home.

There currently are about 50 or so patients in Heritage Hospice's medical program and nearly 40 clients in its transitional program. The 55 volunteers involved in both programs provide support for the 22 full-time and three part-time clinical and administrative staff members, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, case managers and a chaplain.

Heritage Hospice is in its 25th year.

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