Hospice Volunteer Training Program

Androscoggin Valley Hospital Home Health and Hospice Services offers a free Hospice Volunteer Training Program  to anyone in the community who is interested in becoming a hospice volunteer or who would like to learn more about end of life issues and care.

For those unfamiliar with hospice, it provides comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate care to the terminally ill and their families. The goal of hospice care is to improve quality of life by providing integrated services that respond to physiological, sociological, educational, spiritual, and emotional needs of the client and family during the final stages of life and the bereavement that follows. The goal of treatment is comfort rather than cure, and pain control is a priority. An interdisciplinary team approach is used which includes the physician, registered nurse, social worker, clergy, therapists and volunteers. The hospice concept and movement has grown out of the commitment and vision of thousands of volunteers. From the beginning, and still today, volunteers are at the heart of hospice.

"While we have a small core group of volunteers, they are extremely dedicated and we are fortunate they have met all of our patients needs. The Program is looking to add to the pool of volunteers we currently have to ensure enough support is available when it’s most needed," says Edwina Keene, AVH Volunteer Coordinator.

Volunteers serve as a member of the hospice team by sharing skills and interests in a manner that provides comfort and enriches the quality of life for the terminally ill and their families. Volunteers serve on a regularly scheduled basis (a few hours each week), and may provide support services such as companionship, active listening, bedside sitting, and reading. They may share hobbies and special interests such as music, sports, travel, crafts, and may assist with errands such as grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, or with transportation to a doctor’s appointment. No task is too big or too small for a hospice volunteer. One of the most important things a hospice volunteer can do is to just “be there” for patients to reassure them that they are not alone, whether it is to hold a hand, offer a smile, or just listen.

"If you have some free time and enjoy helping others, you may want to consider participating in the Training Program to learn if this is something you’d like to do," says Mrs. Keene. "People take the Training Program for different reasons. It may be personal, work related, or to become a volunteer. Regardless of the reason, we are happy to have you join us,” says Mrs. Keene.

For an application or more information, please call Edwina Keene, AVH Volunteer Coordinator, at 326-5676.