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Hospice of Michigan honors volunteers

Volunteers make life a little easier for patients and families

November is National Hospice Month, and Hospice of Michigan is using this time to help educate the public about the important service that volunteers provide to people who need our care and assistance at an important time of life. In 2009, more than 1,100 volunteers for Hospice of Michigan donated 42,000 hours of time to help patients and families, providing an immeasurable contribution to their quality of life. The dollar value of this time is approximately $500,000.

Hospice of Michigan volunteers go through a comprehensive 16-hour training program, and afterwards provide services that are aligned with their personal interests, including administrative tasks, companionship, cutting hair, reading the newspaper, assisting with errands, light housekeeping, yard work, playing cards, assisting with pet care, and other activities.

Grand Rapids resident in ninth year of volunteering

Paula Riley

Paula Riley

Grand Rapids resident Paula Riley has been a Hospice of Michigan volunteer since 2001. She visits patients in their homes and in facilities donating her services as a certified massage therapist and simply being there as a friend and companion.

“I truly like the people that I serve,” said Riley.  “It’s very humbling because the hospice patients and their families are so grateful for the time and attention you give them.  I always leave feeling blessed to be a part of their lives.”

Riley often uses a special technique in her massage therapy known as Healing Touch or Subtle Energy, which taps into the energy of the body. This type of therapy relaxes and calms the body and puts the patient at ease.

Karen McCambridge, Volunteer Services Manager for Grand Rapids said, “Our volunteers add a deeper dimension to the hospice experience, completing the circle of care that Hospice of Michigan provides. Often, they offer much needed relief to a family member who is acting as a primary care giver. When a patient and family are dealing with a serious illness, simple pleasures and accomplishing daily tasks make all the difference in the world to the comfort of the patient.”

Volunteers needed in Montcalm County

Hospice volunteers are needed in the Montcalm County area for services such as administrative tasks, reading, friendship, aromatherapy, gentle touch therapy, and companionship.  For more information about volunteering for HOM in your community, please contact Karen McCambridge at 616-356-5235 or kmccambr@hom.org.

Hospice services include:
Pain and symptom management
Emotional and spiritual support
Home health aides and trained volunteers
Respite for family caregivers
Medications, equipment and supplies
Grief support for loved ones
Services are provided:
In the home
In the hospital
In the Long-term care setting

Hospice of Michigan, a non-profit organization, is the largest and most experienced hospice in the state. It provides comprehensive comfort care to people living with a terminal illness, and support to their families. The organization serves more than 900 people every day in 56 counties. The organization, which cares for all who need and seek its care regardless of ability to pay, counts on community support to cover the cost of caring for patients who are uninsured or under-insured. For information about Hospice of Michigan services in the Grand Rapids area, call 888-247-5701 or visit the website  www.hom.org.

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