(From left) Marcia Bedard, Carolyn Rehnkemper, Lucy Hollman and Sue Ellen Choate, accompanied by two of Unity Hospice’s therapy dogs.
National Volunteer Month is celebrated annually in the United States during April and is acknowledged as a time to honor volunteers’ contributions.
Unity Hospice of Greater St. Louis dedicated this time to thank their committed hospice volunteers for providing support, companionship and hope to patients facing a terminal illness.
Volunteers play a vital role in enabling hospices to offer the best care for patients, their families and caregivers. By sharing their time, energy and expertise, volunteers, much like the employees, bring compassion and caring to the lives of patients in need, encouraging them to live every moment of life to the fullest. Hospice volunteers often serve patients at the bedside but they also have the opportunity to assist in the office, help raise awareness of hospice volunteerism and contribute to patient-centered programs. Most hospice volunteers choose to give their time to helping others because of their own experience with the compassionate care hospice provided to a dying loved one.
Nearly four decades ago, the hospice movement began as a grassroots volunteer-based service. Today, the volunteer aspect of hospice still exists. It is federally mandated under Medicare that 5 percent of patient care hours be provided by trained volunteers. While many hospices struggle to meet that 5 percent requirement, Unity Hospice averaged 27 percent volunteer hours throughout the entire company in 2015.
In celebration of National Volunteer Month, Unity Hospice of Greater St. Louis volunteers were invited to the Greater St. Louis Volunteer Symposium on April 22. They were also given the opportunity to purchase a book aimed at helping them in their hospice volunteer journey.
For information, visit unityhospice.com/volunteers.