Hospice volunteers sought to assist those needing care

Published 7:35 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The best present you might give someone in need in the coming year is a part of yourself. That was the message shared with the Greenville Lions by Laurie Martin, volunteer coordinator for SouthernCare Hospice of Greenville.

She said many people are hesitant about volunteering for hospice because of the misconception they will only be dealing with very sick people in the last weeks or days of their life.

Not true, said Martin.

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“Today hospice is available for anyone dealing with a terminal illness who is seeking no further medical treatment for that particular condition. Hospice patients may be young, middle-aged or elderly, and they may spend months and even years receiving hospice care,” Martin said.

Hospice patients are served in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and, very often, in their own homes. More than just cancer patients are served by hospice nowadays, including those with heart and lung diseased,

While there are nurses, aides, social workers and a chaplain in place to meet the medical and mental and spiritual health needs of hospice patients, Martin said volunteers can really make a difference in expanding the horizons of a hospice patient.

“During this holiday season, we’ve had folks of all ages baking cakes, collecting soaps and lotions, creating gift baskets and coloring pages to share with patients,” she said.

Some of the numerous opportunities available year-round to volunteers include doing laundry, vacuuming and dusting; performing minor household repairs; watching TV together; walking the dog and the general care of pets; running errands; planting flowers and raking leaves; help a patient write about life experiences; read to a patient; make crafts together; provide time away for family members; and sing together.

“There are many, many ways you can volunteer on an individual basis, or as part of a club, civic organization or church group. It’s something I would ask you to think about for the coming year,” Martin said.

Along with SouthernCare, Comfort Care Hospice of Greenville and Alacare are also looking for willing volunteers from the community.

For more information, contact SouthernCare at 382-1406, Comfort Care at 383-9688 and Alacare at 382-1221.