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Hospice volunteers sought to help end-of-life patients in Portage Co.

Metro Wire Staff

The Compassus hospice program is seeking volunteers to provide comfort and support to patients and families in Portage, Marathon, Waupaca, and Waushara counties.

Volunteers are relied upon to provide “companionship and dignity to members of the community facing serious and life-limiting illness,” according to a news release from Compassus. The company relies on Medicare reimbursements, and so volunteers must account for at least five percent of its patient care hours.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association, more than 400,000 hospice volunteers provide some 19 million hours of service each year. 

The Stevens Point program is seeking three types of volunteers:

  • Veteran Volunteers from all military branches are critically important because they understand the unique needs of their fellow veterans. The Compassus Veterans-to-Veterans Program pairs veteran volunteers with hospice patients who have been identified as veterans to offer camaraderie and compassionate care. Volunteers also honor veterans with pinning ceremonies and other recognition events.
  • Non-Medical Volunteers provide companionship to the patient and respite for the caregiver. They can donate their talents and time in a variety of ways, including running errands, preparing meals, and simply listening. Remote volunteer opportunities such as making phone calls to patients and caregivers, writing greeting cards, and crafting projects are also available.
  • Pet Therapy Volunteers visit hospice patients with their certified therapy animals to offer comfort, peace, and a calming presence. Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Participants can dedicate the amount of time that best fits their schedule and volunteer in their area of residence or beyond the borders of their community. Prospective volunteers are subject to a background check, tuberculosis testing, interview, and one-on-one training. Training will be provided in accordance with proper social distancing and face-covering protocols.

“Hospice patients and their families face one of life’s most difficult challenges – but they don’t have to do it alone,” said Dawn Freedlund, volunteer community outreach coordinator for Compassus – Stevens Point. “A supportive presence and a helping hand can make an incredible impact. Volunteers are an important part of our care team, working alongside our colleagues to care for and comfort patients and loved ones.”

For those interested in learning more about volunteering, contact Dawn Freedlund at 800-398-1297. To learn more about Compassus – Stevens Point, visit compassus.com.