The Gift of Your Time | Hospice Volunteering

What if the best gift you could give was the gift of your time as a hospice volunteer for CVHHH?

About 10 years ago, Norma Segale made a promise to herself. When she had the time, she would become a hospice volunteer at CVHHH.

In 2008, Norma’s mother in law, Cathy Segale Couture, became sick. Cathy received home health services from CVHHH and was eventually enrolled in CVHHH’s hospice program. Norma, a longtime Montpelier resident, describes the support from CVHHH’s hospice team, which included volunteers two or three times a week for Cathy, as “a godsend.” Hospice at CVHHH offers comprehensive end-of-life care to support patients’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Care is provided by a team of experienced and compassionate nurses, personal care attendants, medical social workers, grief and bereavement professionals, and volunteers.

Volunteers are en integral part of hospice at CVHHH. By sitting with patients at home or in a nursing home, providing companionship, running errands (picking up and delivering medical equipment), and relieving caregivers, volunteers make it possible for CVHHH to deliver the compassionate, holistic care that is the hallmark of its hospice program. Volunteers can also perform special skills such as playing music and singing or offering massage or reiki. There is an opportunity for everyone. In 2018, about 30 central Vermonters generously contributed their time and talents as hospice volunteers. Experience with hospice or health care is not required. All that’s needed is a caring, can-do attitude and a willingness to help make a difference for someone nearing the end of life.

Norma completed CVHHH’s hospice volunteer training, a six-week course that includes education on hospice fundamentals and assisting hospice patients at home and in the nursing home, communication and listening, and how to help patients and their families through the dying process. Once training is complete, volunteers are prepared to assist hospice patients and their families.

Norma says that people often ask if the work is sad. Her response? “It’s a part of life, and I’m helping these patients, and that’s a good thing. I saw what hospice did for Cathy. She would say, ‘it’s beautiful.’ Everything was beautiful to Cathy. She wanted to be at home, and we were so thankful for teh whole program. I always said that when I could do it, I would become a volunteer.”

The next hospice volunteer training at CVHHH begins January 15 and runs for six weeks. Please contact Nicole Dupont at 802-224-2285 or ndupont@cvhhh.org or visit www.cvhhh.org/volunteer for more information and/or to sign up.