The Best Place for Hospice Training

Volunteer at a Hospice.
Volunteer at a Hospice.

Do you care about people, especially those individuals who are terminally ill? This type of care requires a special affinity for understanding and some psychological training. While many social workers and psychologists may be called to caring for hospice patients, others may not have the college degree that seems necessary for this job. You may be surprised to learn that many hospice workers are volunteers who may not have a college degree, and the only requirement is registration for local classes or training at a local hospice program.

For instance, Santa Fe Springs hospice volunteers need to be at least 18 years old and have their own transportation. They should be able to donate at least two hours a week as they provide relief for family members, run errands, help with meals or transportation, read to the patient or write letters, play cards, games or listen to music, and provide companionship. “Some visits are very short, perhaps only 15 to 30 minutes, and others up to the maximum four hours (which is enough to go to the hairdresser, bank, post office and grocery store for the regular caregiver).”

If you want to take this service further with more intensive training, you might seek classes held by hospices or hospitals. In one case, the Marion General Hospital Hospice program in Ohio offers Hospice 101, a one-hour introduction to the rewards of being an active volunteer. Fingerprinting and background checks for interested individuals will begin that evening and classes begin in mid-September.

Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association in New Hampshire is offering a nine-week Hospice Volunteer Training Session that starts on Wednesday, Sept. 9 from 6-8 p.m. This is an ideal time for those who work to make the classes to learn more about how to offer companionship and support to terminally ill patients and their families.

If you don’t have time now for a long class, shorter classes are available from many hospice centers. In some cases, fingerprinting is necessary to meet regulations and other facilities may have rules for volunteers, such as no heavy lifting. In most all cases, hospices are pleased to obtain new volunteers, especially individuals who care about what they do and can show compassion rather than fear and hope rather than despair for their patients.

If you plan to make nursing a career, some work as a hospice volunteer may help you decide if you’re cut out for a career as a nurse or nurse’s assistant. Although, in most cases, you must be over age 18 to serve as a volunteer, you may be working with individuals who are as young as five or as old as 95. This range of terminally ill patients may wear on you, as each case is different and each one can affect you in different ways. This is another reason why training is important, as classes or work sessions can provide you with the support and knowledge you need to volunteer effectively.

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