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Hospice honors volunteers, needs more

During National Hospice Month, Lower Valley Hospital and Palliative Care of Sunnyside is taking special note of the help it receives from its 34 volunteers.

Nine of them were given gifts and service pins at a training meeting last week.

"We honor our volunteers all the time, and will be giving special recognition to all in the spring during Volunteer Month," said Carol Bos, coordinator of Hospice's volunteer group.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Hospice is urged to contact the Sunnyside office at 837-1676. A tentative volunteer training will begin Jan. 19, 2006.

"Nowhere is this volunteer help appreciated more than at the end of life," said Bos. "Whether it's providing companionship to someone in need, helping family members deal with the many challenges of care giving, assisting with administrative tasks, organizing fundraising events, or a host of other opportunities, we rely on those in our communities who selflessly give their time and talents."

She said many have become hospice volunteers after experiencing firsthand the compassionate care hospice provided to a dying loved one.

Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care relies on volunteers for unique and valuable skills, she added, with each having special talents that help fulfill Hospice's mission of providing loving care to the dying and support to their families.

Hospice of Sunnyside has several areas in which volunteers can help: direct patient care, bereavement care, office support, working in the HoBS resale shop, special events and fundraising.

A direct patient care volunteer once said, "My choice to volunteer is one of love. To give love to others on a truly unconditional basis is an extraordinary experience. The choice for me was born the day of my own father's passing. Several family members and I tended to him at home with the love and support of hospice. As more and more baby boomers are faced with caring for their elderly dying parents, there will no doubt be a rise in use of hospice, and I, for one, am pleased to know that, as a volunteer, I will make a difference when that happens."

Direct patient care volunteers may provide visits to the patient and relief for the caregiver. They receive special training before they begin their hospice service and ongoing support once they become a volunteer.

Bereavement care volunteers also receive special training and provide a variety of services, including friendly visiting, telephone reassurance and emotional support.

Office support volunteers assist with agency mailings and clerical and office support. Orientation is provided for these volunteers as well.

HoBS, the Hospice Benefit Shop, a resale shop, is housed at 612 Fifth Street in Prosser and continues to see ongoing community support through quality donations of clothing, household items, linens, books, toys, collectibles and furniture. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone who is looking for an opportunity to make a difference, is invited to stop by or call the Shop at 509-786-7435. Orientation is also available to these volunteers.

"LVHPC is so grateful for the many fundraising and events volunteers, whose time and talents ultimately serve patients and families by helping hospice programs reduce their administrative costs, releasing resources to enhance patient care," said Bos.

Hospice's Volunteer Board of Directors provides the leadership needed to maintain the structure and processes that will meet the needs of the community and comply with all laws, regulations and accreditation standards. As the leadership guides the agency into the needs of the dying patients and their families, sound policies and procedures provide a pathway to excellence and consistency in care.

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