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Baystate VNA to host volunteer training

May 1, 2013 |

SPRINGFIELD – Baystate VNA & Hospice is currently accepting applications for a free Hospice Volunteer Training Course starting June 4. Baystate Hospice, a member of Baystate Health, is a nonprofit agency serving the greater Springfield area. Hospice volunteers usually spend two or more hours a week with one patient at a time throughout the individual's course of illness. They offer companionship, transportation for doctor appointments and other errands, supportive listening, a calming presence, and temporary respite for caregivers. Volunteers are especially needed to visit hospice patients in skilled nursing facilities or for those living alone or with limited family support. Hospice is seeking volunteers who are interested in providing specialized services such as therapists trained in massage, Reiki, or Therapeutic Touch to lessen agitation and bring peace and comfort to patients; practitioners trained in Music Therapy to provide calming music for hospice patients suffering from dementia and those in the last hours of life; licensed hairdressers and manicurists to provide haircuts and special nail care to homebound and nursing home patients to help them feel good about themselves; Certified Pet Therapy Dogs proven to reduce anxiety, decrease blood pressure and heart rate, increase relaxation, socialization, and motivation; and bilingual individuals to provide the patient a better understanding in communication and support of caregivers and family members in our multi-cultured population. Also, individuals who proudly served in the U.S. military and are willing to comfort, support, and give recognition to veterans currently in Hospice are encouraged to apply. The program encompasses 18 hours of class time in seven morning sessions. Subjects include hospice nursing and pain management; communicating with the dying patient; grief and loss; and the contributions of social workers, chaplains and bereavement coordinators. Volunteers receive a certificate of completion at the program's conclusion. Monthly meetings offer an opportunity to share their experiences with others doing this deeply meaningful work. Class size is limited. Contact Peg McCool at 794-6472 for the interview process.

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