Hospice Volunteer Information Sessions Offered June 15-17 by VNHCH

June 2, 2023

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Have you ever thought about volunteering for hospice but weren’t sure if it was right for you? Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice of Carroll County and Western Maine (VNHCH) invites you to explore how to become a hospice volunteer at one of three volunteer information sessions taking place throughout Mount Washington Valley, on June 15-17, 2023. 

The sessions are on Thursday, June 15 at 6:30pm at Cook Memorial Library, Tamworth; Friday, June 16 at 10am at the Conway Public Library; and Saturday, June 17 at 9am at the Jackson Public Library. 

Those interested in volunteering can learn about VNHCH’s hospice program and talk to hospice staff and volunteers. You can also apply for a training program to become a hospice volunteer. Taking place this summer, the 20-hour training program will be the first hospice volunteer training since the pandemic. VNHCH trainers will include Andrea Walsh, hospice volunteer coordinator, and Julie Lanoie, hospice nurse.

Walsh encourages anyone who is curious to learn more to come to one of these informational sessions, regardless of professional or personal background, or skill set. She explained, “We’ve had volunteers who are retired medical professionals, as well as younger people, recent college graduates. It’s a mix. We welcome anyone who wants to find out more.”

She emphasized that a medical background is not needed. Rather, the need is for compassion. “We need people who are a calming presence; those who are compassionate, patient, and are willing to listen to stories. We need people who appreciate slowing down to meet someone where they are now. Sharing in this sacred time is an honor, and volunteers learn a lot about their community, themselves, and about the process of dying.”

Hospice volunteer and retired doctor Charlie Felton emphasized that respite to caregivers is the most important role volunteers play. He explained, “Hospice volunteers allow caregivers to get a break, which is very important. Without caregivers, you can’t have a hospice program that allows people to stay home until the end of their days.”

He also shared what volunteers can expect in this role. “It can be quite pleasant to sit and talk with people. In general, most folks I’ve sat with are very interesting to talk with. You hear about their lives. Most volunteers spend two hours at a time. They aren’t obliged to be medically savvy. There’s always a nurse you can call.”

Hospice is defined as a philosophy of care that focuses on quality of life and comfort for people who have a terminal illness. It’s a holistic approach, giving equal focus and importance to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of individuals and their families. 

VNHCH has an interdisciplinary hospice team consisting of nurses, spiritual care providers, medical social workers, home health aides, hospice physicians, pharmacists, primary care providers, occupational therapists, and volunteers who work collaboratively to support individuals and their families in the end-of-life experience.

No registration is necessary to attend any of these information sessions. For more information, call or text Andrea Walsh at 603-452-8220, or email [email protected].

For more information about VNHCH and their hospice program, visit them online at www.vnhch.org or call 603-356-7006.