During National Volunteer Week (April 18 to 24), we join organizations nationwide in celebrating volunteer service and the gifts of time and talent individuals selflessly offer in support of others. This commitment is especially valuable and heartfelt in hospice, and especially noteworthy in this time of increased need in our community.
For more than 40 years, hospice volunteers have been supporting local individuals and families on hospice care with companionship and respite. Beginning in April 1980, as Hospice of the Champlain Valley, then part of VNA Hospice, and now The UVM Health Network – Home Health & Hospice, our program’s 400+ volunteers bring the gift of presence wherever a hospice client calls home.
Notably, our hospice volunteers’ efforts have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: nearly 300 of our volunteers have continued remote supports for isolated caregivers, running errands for and delivering meals to hospice clients and supporting those at the McClure Miller Respite House, Vermont’s only Medicare-certified inpatient hospice facility.
Their work even takes artistic form, as this chalk art from the pandemic’s early days illustrates. Volunteers left reminders for staff and residents of the essential message of hospice care and sums up well how we feel about them in return.
Indeed, our volunteers’ compassion has been matched only by their flexibility and creativity. Our community is a better, more compassionate place because of their service.
Some of those special people, pictured here pre-pandemic, include Respite House volunteers Peter Geise, Michelle Finer and Carol Bitter, at top, and Volunteer Coordinator Nancy Morse with volunteer Debbie Rice (pictured pre-pandemic below). They are among the many dedicated hospice volunteers upon whom we and those in our care rely every day.
During National Volunteer Week, we honor and celebrate these remarkable, special, caring individuals who do so much for so many — particularly those hospice volunteers who accompany people during life’s final journey.
Learn more about hospice volunteering by contacting Charley MacMartin, Volunteer Services manager (pictured with Volunteer Coordinators Rebecca Thompson and Gracie Peirce), at Charles.MacMartin@uvmhomehealth.org or (802) 860-4411, or here.