FORT MADISON – Since 1989 Lee County Health Department-Hospice has been providing hospice services to the surrounding area. Also since that time the Hospice program requires that a percentage of the direct care to clients has to be provided by volunteers. This year seven community members chose to go through the four- week training to become a volunteer for LCHD-Hospice program.
Hospice professionals and volunteers are dedicated to ensuring that patients spend their final days in dignity, comfort, and peace. Hospice volunteers work as part of the Hospice team and are needed to provide help and support to patients with a terminal illness. The training class prepares volunteers to work with terminally ill patients and their families. Topics covered are: Hospice program and services, the volunteer’s role in helping patients and families, communication techniques, comfort/care measures, grief process and how to help someone in grief. Volunteers are required to have a criminal background check and to receive a TB test before working with hospice families.
“One of the biggest concerns of new volunteers is the idea that they would like to be a hospice volunteer, but feel maybe they are not quite ready to volunteer in a client’s home. We encourage them to take the class anyway and then set them up to volunteer in the office or with community events until they are ready,” said Jeri Giebelhausen, Support Services Coordinator.
Hospice started more than 40 years ago as a total volunteer organization and now with Medicare guidelines Hospice requires that a percentage of direct client care be provided by volunteers. Lee County Health Dept-Hospice started 29 years ago and has been very fortunate that over the years that so many community members have supported the program by becoming volunteers. “We still have a few of the seasoned volunteers that went through the training back in the early 1990’s with our organization today.” Giebelhausen shared, “Families are very grateful for the time volunteers spend with their loved ones. We know we could not run the program without them.”
Lee County Health Department – Hospice is a Medicare certified program providing in-home care and support services to the terminally ill and their families in their homes and nursing facilities in the Iowa counties of Lee, Des Moines, Van Buren and Henry and in the Illinois counties of Hancock and Henderson.
For more information about Hospice volunteering, please call Lee County Health Department – Hospice at 319-372-5225 or 800-458-6672, visit our website www.leecountyhd.org, or like us on Facebook.