Celebrate health care volunteer week
To the Editor,
April 15 to 21 is National Health Care Volunteer Week, a time to recognize and celebrate the thousands of men and women who volunteer in communities across the country. I am the hospice volunteer coordinator at Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) and I salute all those who give of their time and talents – particularly to people at the end of life’s journey.
Many people are unaware that volunteers provide more than 19 million hours of service through our nation’s hospices. That’s more than 430,000 people giving selflessly to support and care for patients and families. More than 1.6 million people received compassionate care from hospice last year and hospice volunteers are an integral part of the care team.
I decided to become involved in hospice work after experiencing the wonderful care my father received before he died. As a hospice volunteer coordinator, I’m not only giving back to the community by providing dedicated volunteers, I’m also honoring my father’s memory.
There are people that mistakenly think hospice is about giving up – that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hospice is about living as fully as possible, even at the end of life. At the center of hospice is the belief that each person has the right to die free of pain and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.
I encourage others to learn more about hospice by contacting VNH at (888) 300-8853 or visiting www.vnhcare.org. We anticipate offering a training session in late spring.