Hospice Advantage kicks off National Volunteer monthPublished 11:00pm Monday, April 1, 2013
The reason for voluteering is not always easy to put into words.
However, Patsy Owens found the right words to explain why she and the other volunteers for Hospice Advantage in Troy donate their time and caring to Hospice patients.
“There could be a time when it’s us and we would want someone to come see us,” Owens said.
The Hospice Advantage volunteers kicked off Volunteer Month Monday at the Hospice Advantage office and took a few minutes to talk about what it means to be a Hospice Advantage volunteer.
“Four of us volunteer at Lake Haven Assisted Living in Luverne,” Owens said. “Our patients tell us that we are special and that’s such a good feeling – to know that you are special to someone who is so special to you.”
Jan Sullivan, Hospice Advantage volunteer coordinator, said the volunteers make a difference in the lives of their patients and their patients, in turn, make a difference in their lives.
The requirements to be a volunteer with Hospice Advantage are minimal. First, a Hospice Advantage volunteer must have a caring spirit and a desire to serve. Then, he or she must fill out the required paper work, participate in a short training program and submit to a drug test and a TB skin test.
“We then match the volunteer’s personality with the patient’s and the caregiver’s and the visits can begin,” Sullivan said.
“The volunteer is requested to make one visit a month. That’s not a lot so we’ll often match two or more volunteers with the same patient so that they will have more visits per month.”
Mary Starling said the patient’s visits are looked forward to by the volunteer as well as the patient.
“Hospice volunteers looked after my mother and I volunteer because I want to repay that service,” she said. “Volunteering with Hospice is very worthwhile. You get more out of it than what you put into it.”
Annette Tustin said volunteer visits often mean as much to caregiver as to the patient.
“The visits break the routine for the caregivers and give them someone to talk to,” she said. “A volunteer’s visit makes a difference in two lives.”
The Hospice Advantage volunteers also visit residents at local health care facilities, Troy Health and Rehabilitation Center and Noble Manor.
The residents love to play Bingo and bananas are their most prized prizes, the volunteers said. “They laugh and say they try to get enough bananas to make a banana pudding.”
Rue Botts is a new volunteer with Hospice Advantage but she’s not new to volunteering at health care facilities. Her mother is a resident at the Troy Health and Rehabilitation Center.
“I know what it means to her and to the other residents to have someone visit them,” she said.
“Some of the residents don’t have anybody to come. You can bring them a sucker and you would think that you had given them a million dollars. When you volunteer, you do get back more than your could ever give.”
Sullivan said those in health care facilities become familiar with Hospice volunteers and, in the event Hospice services are ever needed, they will have Hospice volunteer friend to visit them.
The Hospice Advantage Volunteer program also sponsors fundraisers that provide funds to help patients who are not able to supply their needs.
Sullivan said the upcoming Gala will raise funds for needs such as wheelchair ramps and air conditioners.
A side advantage of being a Hospice volunteer is the friendship among the volunteers.
“I’ve made some really dear friends among the volunteers and we have a good time doing something for others,” Owens said.
Hospice Advantage always welcomes volunteers. Anyone who is interested in volunteering is encouraged to call Sullivan at 566-4357.