New local hospice volunteers complete their training recently at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna.
Hospice of the Central Peninsula recently completed a 23-hour, two week Volunteer Training Session. Twenty-seven enthusiastic participants were introduced to the Hospice philosophy of end of life care. "We've spent a lot of time getting the word out about Hospice this year and we are really excited about all our new volunteers that have completed the training," said Marquitta Andrus, executive director of Hospice off the Kenai Peninsula.
During the training the new volunteers were exposed to several teaching sessions, including such topics as the dynamics of death and dying, palliative care, communication skills, family dynamics, Advance Directives, and spirituality. As part of their training, the volunteers also took a field trip to Peninsula Memorial Chapel, and were introduced to the realities of grief and bereavement. Gene Diamond first became aquainted with Hospice when helping out with their annual fund raiser, "Little by little I found out more about the organization and after helping out with several of their fund raisers I realized what a wonderful service Hospice is to the community and I finally decided to get involved as a volunteer," said Diamond, who missed Monday night football and the World Series playoffs to complete his training. Finally, the new volunteers were instructed in the medical aspects of disease and taught the essentials of patient and staff safety.
According to the Chairman of Hospice Foundation of America, Jack Gordon, one of life's more difficult moments is when you find yourself talking to a friend who informs you that he or she is seriously, or even terminally ill. "When you find yourself in these situations it's common to be overwhelmed with self consciousness. You don't know what to say or how to respond. The fear of not knowing can prevent you from giving the love and support that your friend needs most," writes Gordon.
During the month of November Hospice volunteers will be baking homemade cookies to take to all he medical facilities in the Central Peninsula served by Hospice including hospitals, doctors offices, and walk-in clinics through out the community, "If we miss anyone, please call our Hospice number and let us know and we'll get to you by the end of the month. We want to be seen throughout the month with cookies and hospice information at all the places we serve," said Andrus. For more information about Hospice services or to become a volunteer call 262-0453 or Hospice Foundation of America, www.hospicefoundation.org .
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