Saying goodbye to a loved one due to illness can be a heartwrenching experience, but volunteers at City of Hope’s Village Hospice are now helping dying patients and their families throughout this emotional passage.
Volunteers step in for caregivers, performing errands and visiting with patients while granting caregivers much-needed rest and free time. Volunteers also help with bereavement groups by serving as facilitators.
The hospice team is led by Hospice of Pasadena and involves registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants, a medical director, a primary physician, a social worker, a chaplain and volunteers.
“While every caregiver certainly provides love, caring and companionship to each patient, every volunteer receives a priceless gift of wisdom and insight that transforms them forever,” said Marceen Garces, Hospice of Pasadena’s volunteer supervisor.
Hospice of Pasadena, which joined Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in 2006, trains all volunteers. Training takes about a month to complete. Candidates must pass a background check and tuberculosis test, as well take a variety of classes, including cultural diversity and safety instruction. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old to participate (minors require parental permission).
Once the training is completed, volunteers meet monthly to continue their education.
Most volunteers are family members of former patients who want to give back to the hospice program.
Informational meetings about becoming a hospice volunteer are held the first Monday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the hospice’s office in Arcadia. Anyone interested in volunteering in the hospice program may contact Garces at 626-397-3600.