Join hundreds of thousands of hospice volunteers during National Volunteer Week

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Ellen Fitzmaurice was part of a round-the-clock care team of volunteers who recently offered respite care for a family with a terminally ill newborn at Mandrin Inpatient Care Center.

During National Volunteer Week, celebrated this year from April 15 to 21, Hospice of the Chesapeake will join tens of thousands of nonprofits and civic organizations in celebrating the corps of people who make the world better with their gifts of time and talent. During these seven days, we will share their stories in social media and do our best to thank each and every one of the hundreds of volunteers who so generously join us in our mission of caring for life throughout the journey with illness and loss.

You can honor these volunteers by joining them in their compassionate work of helping patients and families facing serious and life-limiting illness find hope, dignity and love. You would be in good company; according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, there are around 430,000 trained hospice volunteers providing more than 19 million hours of service to hospice programs each year.

Hospice volunteers help the people they serve live every moment of life to the fullest. Though many serve patients and families at the bedside, they also assist in the office, help raise awareness, contribute to educational programs and provide fundraising support and more.

Free training is provided; in fact, many enjoy taking advantage of the variety of complimentary learning opportunities offered to volunteers and staff. There is an immediate need for the following volunteers:

  • Licensed cosmetologists: Provide haircuts and other grooming to our patients in their homes.
  • Healing Arts: Musicians and artists, people to perform Aromatherapy, Comfort Touch, acupuncture and reiki.
  • Pet therapy: Licensed pet therapists as well as pet owners who are interested in having their pets certified.
  • Choir Director: Lead a small group to sing to patients.
  • Threshold Choir: Sing with small groups at the homes and bedsides of hospice patients to bring ease and comfort to those at the threshold of living and dying.
  • Camp Volunteers: Be a Big Buddy to a child or teen at our summer bereavement camps held from Aug. 10 to 12.

Other areas of need include:

  • Patient care: Provide companionship and a supportive presence for our patients and respite for caregivers. They offer a listening ear, open mind and loving heart to those in our care.
  • Vet-to-Vet Volunteer: These are patient care volunteers who have a military background who are assigned to visit patients who are veterans.
  • Vigil Volunteers: Available upon request to support patients and families during the final days and hours of life. Additional training provided.
  • Honor Salutes: Active duty military personnel are needed to perform Honor Salutes, a formal ceremony for patients who are veterans to recognize and show our appreciation for their military service. These volunteers do not need to complete patient care volunteer training.
  • Grief support: Provide a caring presence either by phone or in person to support grieving individuals.

Become a hospice volunteer if you are age 18 or older and willing to complete volunteer training. Opportunities also exist for high school students and internships are available. Contact Lydia Vincek at lvincek@hospicechesapeake.org or 443-837-1508 or visit www.hospicechesapeake.org for more information and to download an application.

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