For nearly 20 years, Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) has provided care locally to terminally ill patients through their hospice program. Hospice is a special kind of service that concentrates on care, not cure, for patients of all ages and with various types of illnesses. It is designed to provide sensitivity and support for people in the final phase of a terminal illness. The goal for the patient is for the last days to be spent with dignity and quality at home or in a home-like setting. Those involved in the process of dying have a variety of physical, spiritual, emotional, and social needs. LRH Hospice strives to meet all of the patient’s needs as well as the needs of the family. A team of professionals and volunteers provide services ranging from skilled nursing and medical care to assistance with the activities of daily living and bereavement counseling for the hospice patient and their family.
LRH Hospice is looking for additional volunteers to join their team. Hospice volunteers are an essential part of the hospice philosophy of care, which recognizes that dying is not just a medical event, but a personal one also. Hospice volunteers are men and women of all ages and backgrounds who offer their time and talents to assist the hospice team with patient care and family support. Services may include companionship, reading, writing letters, running errands, meal preparation, housework, yard work, as well as respite care for hospice patients and relief for their caregivers, and clerical duties for the hospice program. Volunteers can choose different activities based on their interests and desires. For example, according to LRH Director of Home Care and Hospice Jill Christoffels, volunteers can provide companionship to hospice patients in their place of residence, whether it is in their home, in the hospital’s hospice room, or in a nursing home. They can also assist with office work, such as filing, copying, or putting admission packets together.
There are six requirements to becoming a hospice volunteer. First, training is held to introduce the volunteer to hospice. Second, a test for tuberculosis (TB) is given. Third, the volunteer must have the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Fourth, they must complete a background check. Fifth, the volunteer must have transportation to the patient’s place of residence. Sixth, attendance at educational meetings is necessary.
Those interested in volunteering for LRH Hospice can call 712-336-8709 and ask for Jean Johnson.