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Hospice Services honors dedicated volunteers

April 17, 2013 |

FEEDING HILLS – National Volunteer Week is April 21 to 27, and Hospice Services of Western Massachusetts is honoring its core of dedicated volunteers who provide support, companionship and dignity to members of the community facing serious and life-limiting illness. "We could not do the work we do without the gifts of time and talent from our hospice volunteers who support our organization and walk with patients and families during the journey at life's end," Janet McClelland, RN, DNP, CHPN, executive director of Hospice Services of Western Massachusetts, said. Hospice volunteers often serve patients and families at the bedside but they also assist in the office, help raise awareness, contribute to educational programs, and provide fundraising support and more. Hospice volunteers help the people they serve live every moment of life to the fullest and enable the organizations they work with to achieve their mission in the community. Most 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 but anyone can volunteer. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that there are an estimated 450,000 hospice volunteers providing more than 21 million hours of service to hospice programs each year. Medicare mandates that five 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 community. According to McClelland, "Volunteers are an invaluable part of our interdisciplinary team. They demonstrate a deep commitment to the hospice philosophy and to their desire to help others." Hospice Services of Western Massachusetts is a community-based hospice, providing quality end-of-life care for patients and their families. With a main office in Feeding Hills and a branch office in Pittsfield, they provide services for patients residing in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Berkshire, and western Worcester counties. Hospice Services of Western Massachusetts provides training for individuals wishing to become volunteers. For those interested in learning more about hospice or volunteer opportunities, please contact Hospice Services of Western Massachusetts at 786-4004.

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