Training announced for hospice volunteers

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LEWISTON — Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice has a growing need for hospice volunteers who have a special interest in visiting patients in nursing homes and patients in their homes. Interested individuals can sign up for a four-and-a-half-week training class at the Lewiston office. Classes will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, beginning Thursday, March 25. There is no cost to participate.

Throughout the 27-hour class, participants will discover the world of hospice through discussion, guest speakers and skill-strengthening activities. The course will explore a range of topics including hospice philosophy, pain management, communication, spirituality, grief, bereavement and the role of hospice volunteers.

Volunteers serve as valued members of the hospice team, offering needed support for patients at the end of life and their families.

Nancy Greene, Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice volunteer supervisor, said “The AHCH hospice program cares for patients in their homes, as well as long-term care facilities and at the hospice house in Auburn. Volunteers often build relationships very quickly with patients and their families. That relationship can be important wherever the patient may be.”

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When hospice volunteers are matched with patients who live at home in or near their communities, they visit regularly and may stay with the patient for several hours while a caregiver gets time away from the home. They may also do errands if requested or meet other special needs.

For patients in nursing facilities, volunteers have the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities such as reading, talking, watching TV together, listening to the stories they want to share, bringing patients to activities, as well as providing a change of scenery by sitting with them in community rooms.

Even when patients have difficulty communicating, volunteers may make a difference by just sitting with a patient, holding their hand or reading to them.

Volunteers at the hospice house support patients and families in a variety of ways. They also greet visitors, answer the phones and assist in the kitchen.

To be a hospice volunteer, a person needs to be nonjudgmental, warm, compassionate and a good listener. A volunteer must also respect confidentiality and be able to provide his or her own transportation.

Participants are asked to make a commitment of volunteering two to four hours each week for a year with AHCH. All prospective volunteers are interviewed before acceptance into the program.

For more information about the March training class, call and ask for Volunteer Services at 1-800-482-7412 or 777-7740.

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