LEWISTON – Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice is seeking individuals interested in becoming hospice volunteers. Volunteers are critical members of the hospice team offering needed support for patients at the end of life and their families.

The next hospice volunteer training begins Tuesday, Sept. 13. The 27-hour training will be held from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the agency’s Lewiston office at 15 Strawberry Ave.

Nancy Greene, Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice Volunteer coordinator, explains, “The need for volunteers is increasing as the AHCH hospice program grows and we prepare to open the new hospice house this fall in Auburn.”

According to Greene, participants will discover the world of hospice through discussion, guest speakers and skill-strengthening activities. The course explores a range of topics including hospice philosophy, pain management, communication, spirituality, grief and bereavement and the role of hospice volunteers.

Hospice volunteers are matched with patients in or near their communities. They visit patients regularly and may stay with the patient for several hours while a caregiver gets time away from the home, do errands if requested, or meet other special needs. “Sometimes the need is for someone to just be present, to sit quietly, and simply be’ with the patient,” says Greene.

“The AHCH hospice program cares for patients in their homes, as well as long-term care facilities, and, when it opens, at the new hospice house. A volunteer may start visiting a patient in their home and continue to visit with the patient if they move to the hospice house or a long-term care facility,” said Greene. “Volunteers can build wonderful relationships very quickly with patients and their families. That relationship can continue wherever the patient may be.”

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/her own transportation.

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

For more information, call Nancy Greene, Volunteer Coordinator at 1-800-482-7412 or 777-7740.

AHCH is a nonprofit Medicare-certified agency that annually provides comprehensive hospice care to more than 750 residents of central and western Maine through its local offices in Lewiston, Bridgton, Dixfield, Oxford and Wilton. AHCH specializes in hospice care for residents of long-term-care facilities, as well as those living in their own homes.

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