Volunteering can be defined in many ways. A volunteer assists an organization with projects. A volunteer cares enough for the organization to help without pay. Lee County Health Department Hospice volunteers are an essential piece of their hospice program. They care for patients and their families during the last stages of life’s journey.
“Families are dealing with so many emotions and making difficult decisions that they just need to take a moment for themselves, and that is where our volunteers make a difference,” remarks Jeri Geibelhausen, LCHD-Hospice Support Services Coordinator. LCHD-Hospice is preparing for their 2018 Volunteer Training, and is looking for new trainees.
During the training process it is explained to the volunteer trainees that we are in need of office volunteers and volunteers who sit with clients and their families. There are plenty of opportunities that need a volunteer like office work, imaging charts, bereavement newsletter mailings, putting admissions packets together, helping with health fairs, the Tree of Love events, Mystery Ride event, trainings, community education to name a few. All of these tasks are vital to LCHD-Hospice to provide quality services to our communities.
Not only does LCHD-Hospice see that volunteers are an important component to the Hospice program, but Medicare does as well. “To be honest there is not a way that we could do Hospice services without our volunteers whether Medicare required them or not,” add Geibelhausen. “Volunteers are an intricate part of how Hospice is able to accomplish all the services they provide to families.”
The volunteers themselves have many reasons for volunteering. “If you want to find something in retirement years LCHD-Hospice is a great place to volunteer. They make you feel very appreciated,” says Pat Stinson, 2017 LCHD-Hospice Volunteer of the Year. “I know I look forward to coming in and working. The staff also lifted some of the worry and frustration while my mom was in hospice which was so helpful.”
Like Stinson, some have had relatives in hospice, and decided to give back to the program. That is the case with Anita Hunold. “After all the love and support my family and I received, I just wanted to return the favor,” states Hunold.
For Mable Posz, 93, a LHCD-Hospice volunteer for almost seven years, it’s just about giving back to the community. “I feel like volunteering is my way of helping others out,” says Poz. “Helping others could be sitting with a patient or working on an office project. No matter what it is I feel like I’m giving back.”
For those interested in learning more about hospice and volunteering LCHD-Hospice will hold their Hospice Volunteer Training from March 6 through March 27, on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm at the LCHD office (#3 John Bennett Drive, Fort Madison). Interested volunteers will learn from LCHD staff and current volunteers about the hospice experience, and how to help families in this final stage of life. Volunteers are needed from Lee, Henry, Van Buren, and Des Moines counties in Iowa, and Hancock and Henderson counties in Illinois. If you have questions about the training or would like to register call (319)372-5225 or (800)458-6672 by March 2.