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Hospice honors local volunteers

National Volunteer Week is April 15-21 and Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care is honoring its dedicated volunteers.

Local hospice volunteers provide support, companionship and dignity to those facing serious and life-limiting illness, as well as the office volunteers who spend hours each month assisting with mailings.

"Hospice volunteers play an indispensable role in enabling Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care to offer the best care possible for patients living with life-limiting illness, their families and caregivers. By sharing their time, energy and expertise, our volunteers bring compassion and caring to the lives of those in need," said Ron Jetter, Executive Director.

Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care volunteers help the people they serve live every moment of life to the fullest and enable the organization to achieve its mission in the community.

Many hospice volunteers choose to give their time helping others because of their own experience with the compassionate care hospice provided to a dying loved one.

A patient care volunteer, Ruth Strang, says, "Being a hospice volunteer is very satisfying to me. I receive more from my patients and their families than I give them."

It is mandated under Medicare that 5 percent of all patient care hours be provided by trained volunteers. This regulation reflects the vital role that volunteers play in the hospice philosophy of care and ensures that a hospice program has roots deep in the communities.

Hospice volunteers provide many hours and travel many miles in all of Yakima and Benton counties, visiting patients in their homes as well as assisted living facilities and adult home care facilities.

Another patient care volunteer, Jane Swindell, says that, "Upon retirement from mental health, I soon realized that I needed to continue helping others. The opportunity to do this came from a call from a friend who worked for Hospice, encouraging me to attend the training sessions for volunteers. That was five years ago, and I treasure the folks I have helped."

And Wendy Sisko says, "Because of my own experience with hospice care, I wanted to give back and feel I have a heart for the loving care that I can provide to other hospice patients."

Lower Valley Hospice officials are thanking the patient care volunteers for many hours and miles of contribution. Local volunteers include Pat Barr, Wanda Cox, Audrey Edes, Laura Forgey, Sheila Hazzard, Billie Hilton, Rose Hall, Pat Hull, Arlene Mulder, Justin Olmsted, Bill Patterson, Ranney Sharman, Ed and Donilee Shinn, Joan Stoker, Ruth Strang, Jane Swindell, Cynthia Tobin, Frank Ward, Maureen Rouse, Rafaela Zavala, Marlis Herington, Gail Kamphuis, Eunice O'Brien, Wendy Sisko, Monica Ray, Louise Greek and Karen Cullen. Office volunteers are Florence Fadness and Gladys Graff.

For more information about volunteering at Lower Valley Hospice, call 509-1676 or 1-800-474-6008 and ask for the volunteer coordinator.

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