Twenty new volunteers have just completed over 20 hours of intense McLean Hospice Training and will soon join the cadre of fifty-five active volunteers supporting the McLean Hospice Program.
Volunteers ranged from young mothers with children in school, to retired teachers, nurses and corporate managers who want to contribute purposely to the community now that they have fewer daily commitments. Several had family members previously served by a Hospice program. They shared that the experience left such a wonderful impression, during such a difficult transition in their lives, that they wanted to be able serve others as their families were once supported.
Leslie Dehey from Collinsville expressed, “It’s an honor and privilege to be accepted and trained to be a McLean Hospice Volunteer.” Another student from Simsbury stated, “I learned so much, I’m very impressed with and sold on the Hospice Program.” Betsey Van Gemeren from Canton suggested that “…everyone should have Hospice awareness. It would be interesting to include this (topic) in high schools to make students more aware.” Michelle Voegtle of Simsbury was excited to begin her volunteering stating “I’m so glad to be part of this work and this organization.”
Lori Scudder, McLean Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, summed up several of the comments she heard from the new graduating class. “All felt validated that the education they received was valuable to them in making their own end of life choices as well as supporting others who chose palliative care through Hospice. Classroom discussion broadened their awareness and sensitivities. They understand the losses patients and families face from the moment they receive a terminal diagnosis. There was much discussion dispelling many of the myths they had heard about Hospice. Trainees came away with a better understanding of the Hospice philosophy and how the interdisciplinary team provides support to allow patients to live life to its fullest and empower patients to make their own care choices. The volunteers felt prepared to help dispel myths in the community and to advocate that Hospice is a wonderful care option when faced with end of life circumstances.” Scudder also said “During class, we discussed the many ways that volunteers might assist with tasks and errands and how they might bring joy and comfort to families.” The graduates expressed their desire to become involved as soon as possible.”
Volunteers are part of the interdisciplinary team of nurse case managers, social workers, aides, and bereavement counselors. They may support patients and families on their end of life journey, or support the team carrying out administrative duties or participating in volunteer projects. Scudder reported that training generally occurs in the spring and fall. For further information call Lori Scudder at 860-658-9040. Mclean Hospice serves patients and families in the Farmington Valley towns and Bloomfield, West Hartford and Windsor. Refer to the website www.mcleanhospice.org for more information.