The Richmond Register

January 7, 2013

‘It’s time to give back to the community’ - Hospice to conduct volunteer training

By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — Charles Reeves, 75, has been volunteering at the Hospice Care Plus Compassionate Care Center in Richmond since it opened in April 2008.

He answers phones, orders supplies and puts them away, makes coffee, bakes pastries and cookies, greets visitors and pushes a hospitality cart full of goodies for patients and their families.

“I’m 75 now. It’s time to give back to the community ― to a community that has been so good to me,” Reeves said.

Hospice will conduct a volunteer training Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center off Boggs Lane south of the Eastern Bypass in Richmond. Volunteers are needed for patient care, administrative tasks and special projects, said volunteer coordinator Julie Hatfield.

“Volunteers become part of our staff,” said Hatfield, “so it’s very important that they come away from the training with a full understanding of what we do and how they might fit in the picture.”

People should volunteer for Hospice because it is such a big help to families, Reeves said. “You share in their sorrow, but it’s heart-warming to help a patient and their family.”

Reeves is the youngest of eight siblings. He took care of some of them for months, and was there with five of them when they passed, he said. “It gave me great satisfaction to just be with them.”

This is the kind of help Hospice needs, Hatfield said. Patient care can range from visiting a patient in their home, taking care of a family’s needs, listening to life stories, running errands, or just making a phone call to check in on a patient.

“We need people who can be a friend to the family ― to not only be there for the patient,but their family as well,” she said.

Although some Hospice patients are in nursing homes and are being taken care of by staff, “there’s always something extra to be done,” she added. “There’s no simple way to describe patient care.”

Administrative and special projects volunteers are needed, too. Some people are not quite comfortable with visiting patients, but are still interested in donating their time, Hatfield said.

These volunteers bake goodies for Hospice events, help with mass mailings, fundraising and “all those behind-the-scenes things you don’t see, but we couldn’t do without,” she said.

However, many people begin to spend time with patients at the center, she said, which becomes “a stepping stone” for those who eventually visit patients in their homes.

Volunteers also can help nurses pass out water and snacks, conduct group activities and help clean up. One volunteer tends the Hospice garden and cuts fresh flowers for patients and their families.

Volunteering at the Compassionate Care Center can fit anyone’s schedule, she said. The Center is open 24 hours a day, “so you don’t need a set schedule, we’re always here.”

Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@richmondregister.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.