LEWISTON – Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice has a need for hospice volunteers in the Lewiston-Auburn area who have a special interest in visiting patients in nursing homes and patients in their homes.

Interested community residents can sign up for a five-week training class beginning Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Lewiston office. Classes will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. 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 and bereavement and the role of hospice volunteers.

The qualities that are important to be a successful hospice volunteer include the ability 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.

Volunteers serve as valued members of the hospice team offering needed support for patients at the end of life and their families. 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 make a difference by just sitting with a patient, holding their hand or reading to them.

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

Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice is a nonprofit Medicare-certified agency that annually provides comprehensive hospice care to more than 1,100 residents of central and western Maine. For more information, visit www.AHCH.org.

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