Baystate VNA & Hospice to host volunteer training course

July 2, 2012

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate VNA & Hospice is currently taking applications for a free Hospice Volunteer Training Course this fall. Baystate Hospice, a member of Baystate Health, is a non-profit 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.

Their support includes companionship, transportation for doctor appointments and other errands, supportive listening and temporary respite for caregivers. Volunteers are especially needed to visit hospice patients in nursing homes.

Hospice is also seeking volunteers who provide specialized services, including but not limited to: therapists trained in massage and Reiki 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; and licensed hairdressers to provide haircuts to the homebound and nursing home patients to help them feel good about themselves.

The program encompasses 21 hours of class time in seven afternoon 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. Bilingual participants are encouraged to apply.

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