Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 7, 2014

Shades of hospice work

Volunteers do more than visit patients

ASHLAND — Hospice care involves volunteer work on many levels.

Workers don’t just make personal visits. They also immerse themselves in many behind-the-scenes projects.

At Community Hospice in Ashland, volunteers can enter different programs, such as respite care, bereavement, patient visits, greeting and registering at the front desk, working at Camp Nabe, a summer grief camp for youngsters, and other related activities.

The blend between patient interaction and isolated work allows room for volunteers with differing preferences, Volunteer Director LuAnn Vance said.

“There are some volunteers who are hesitant about diving head-first into visiting patients and getting directly involved with the end-of-life care,” she said. “But that’s okay because we have many other jobs to offer besides that.”

Some Community Hospice volunteers were attracted to the program after experiencing the loss of a loved one in Hospice.

However, Community Hospice mandates volunteers to wait for one year after the death of a loved one before they begin visiting patients. Instead, Vance directs them to clerical duties.

Such was the case with volunteer Melinda Todd, whose parents and aunt were cared for by and died in Community Hospice.

She began volunteering in October 2010, starting with duties like shredding, registering patients and running errands. After a year, she began making rounds in the visiting program.

She now works with the 11th Hour Program, where she is placed on an “on-call” list of volunteers who are summoned to be with patients whose health takes a “sudden turn for the worst” and do not have family or caregivers present.

For volunteers who do not want to see patients or do clerical work, bereavement programs are good alternatives, Vance said.

Wilma Justice, director of support services, manages bereavement and Camp Nabe for the organization.

Volunteers in bereavement call families every four months for 13 months after a loved one dies in hospice.

Justice said callers ask families how they are coping and are available to lend support or answer questions.

But bereavement can reach out to children with Camp Nabe.

Community Hospice has hosted the three-day summer camp the past 20 years to provide therapy and support for children, ages 8 to 16, who have lost loved ones.

Held in Boyd County, the camp pairs adult volunteers with children to guide them through the grieving process as they attend lessons on grief, anger management and remembrance while also having fun with sports, like canoeing and fishing.

Todd volunteers with Camp Nabe and said it is one of the most emotional and fulfilling programs provided by Community Hospice.

“The best part is at the end when they release all the balloons,” she said. “I used to have to borrow a lady’s shoulder (to cry on), but now I’ll have to find a new shoulder since she retired. It’s amazing.”

Volunteers looking for smaller duties can work in the main office on Carter Avenue shredding, handling mail or taking calls.

At the Care Center where patients are housed, volunteers can opt to service patients and families with the hospitality cart, fetch groceries each week for the cooks or become hospice ambassadors,  handing out informational brochures at public events.

“If you’re interested in doing voluntary hospice and don’t want to get involved with visits, we can still find a place for you,” Beth Taylor, director of marketing  and community outreach, said.

Vance also said the organization is especially in need of volunteers who are veterans of war.

Justice also manages a program that trains four veteran volunteers who pay hospice visits solely to other veterans as a way of establishing a special connection.

Regardless of a volunteer’s placement, everyone is required to undergo training.

Vance said the training can be basic for new volunteers so they can begin general work, or be tailored for a specific program, such as bereavement or 11th Hour.

Volunteer training for 2014 will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Training sessions will be daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the main office at 1480 Carter Ave.

Those wishing to become volunteers are asked to register in advance for the sessions by calling Vance at (800) 926-6184 or (606) 329-1890.

Hospice volunteers must be at least 16 years old. Camp Nabe wokers must be at least 21 years old.

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

Text Only
Local News
  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.

    July 27, 2014

  • MSU moving business admin. program online

    Morehead State University’s School of Business Administration has announced its bachelor of business administration degree in computer information systems has moved totally online beginning the fall 2014 semester.

    July 27, 2014

  • Thefts, fraud reported to APD

    The following information was taken from Ashland Police Department reports:

    July 27, 2014

  • Raceland couple join Peace Corps

    A couple from Raceland will travel to the Republic of Botswana on Aug. 10 to begin training as volunteers in the Peace Corps.

    July 27, 2014

  • Missing Boyd inmate returns to jail

    The Boyd County inmate who walked away from a work detail on Saturday turned himself back in to the Boyd County Detention Center on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • 0728MoreheadMusic_1457.jpg Hills alive with Old Time Music

    The hills surrounding Morehead were alive again this weekend with the sounds of fiddles, banjos and deep Appalachian voices that help keep old time mountain music alive in a modern world.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • Tim Preston: Veterans, doughnuts, hog legs and jerky of squid: 7/27/14

    Are there any talented wreath makers reading this column?

    July 27, 2014