WINTHROP – Beacon Hospice and Palliative Care of Lewiston recently graduated a class of volunteers from Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center.

The training was initiated at the request of the Heritage director of adult day services, Lisa Fitzsimmons, who had learned about the Beacon hospice volunteer program through her work at Clover Health Care in Auburn.

“Lisa was interested in becoming a volunteer and asked if I could provide a hospice volunteer training at Heritage in Winthrop,” said volunteer coordinator Donna Rousseau. “The last several off-site trainings had been held locally and were very successful. I was excited and pleased to be given the opportunity to expand beyond Lewiston-Auburn.”

The class consisted of several Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center’s staff, including Kristy Spears LSW, Maureen Frechette CNA, Mary McKenney CNA, and Fitzsimmons.

Once a week for seven comprehensive three-hour sessions, the group explored the hospice experience under the guidance of the Beacon Hospice team members. Each session focused on a different hospice discipline, with guest speakers discussing a wide range of topics, including hospice philosophy, pain recognition and management, spirituality, bereavement, communication, family dynamics and volunteer responsibilities and wellness.

Rousseau said, “These women are now well-prepared to work with our Beacon Hospice patients within their own facility as well as those residing in the community or in other contracted, long-term care facilities. As with all our volunteers, they will continue to receive ongoing support as members of the Beacon team through in-services, special programs and regular communication with our staff.”

She said, “The beauty of hospice training and education is that it goes where the volunteer goes. It’s useful in the professional health care setting, but can prove invaluable for the volunteer’s personal life experience as well.”

Beacon Hospice is accepting applications for the next volunteer training to begin Tuesday, Aug. 24, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at their Lewiston office. In addition, Beacon hospice volunteer training will begin at Auburn Adult Education through Edward Little High School on Thursday, Sept. 16, from 6 to 9 p.m.

For additional information on either training or for more information about Beacon Hospice, contact Rousseau at 784-4242.

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