Hospice House Volunteers Complete Training To Help Terminally Ill Patients

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The nine volunteers who graduated recently will go on to help terminally ill patients and their families.
The 10 volunteers who graduated last week will go on to help terminally ill patients and their families. From left to right: Sandye Copeland; Elaine Roberto; Jim Easton; Mary Doerflein; Gail Penn; Marsha Lyman; Margo Griffin; Melody Collis; Debbie Taber, Jeff Waters and Debra Podish. (Submitted)

Ten graduates make up the Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg’s Patient Volunteer class of 2015.

The purpose of the Patient Volunteer training program is to prepare volunteers to provide companionship to terminally ill patients, as well as respite care for their primary caregivers.

The course began in late winter and was delayed several weeks due to inclement weather. The official graduation took place last Thursday at the Hospice House headquarters.

Included in volunteers’ 20 classroom hours of basic training is information about how to provide transportation to medical appointments, delivering vital equipment and supplies to patients, helping with essential errands in order to ease the burden on the patient’s family, and coordinating help from neighbors and friends of the patient.

“We talk about a lot of the issues they may encounter during the classroom portion. They learn the emotional stages that both the patients and their families will be going through,” said Debra Podish, director of patient and family volunteer services.

In addition to the 20 hours of classroom training, each volunteer must complete at least 10 hours of mentoring before they graduate the program. Much of this time is spent observing more experienced volunteers working directly with patients and families in their homes.

Continuing education workshops are offered throughout the year in order to keep volunteers abreast of new developments and services that Hospice House offers. Volunteers also meet regularly with the interdisciplinary treatment staff to “review and revise care plans for patients and families they are serving,” according to a news release.

“Many of our volunteers want to give back because they’ve had first hand experience with the hospice system,” Podish said. “They’ve had good experiences with it for their own families so this is how they choose to help.”

The services provided by volunteers are offered at no charge to patients who reside on within the Hospice House’s short-term residential care unit, as well as terminally ill patients who wish to remain in their own homes.


Scholarship Helps Active and Retired Military Afford College

Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance logoThe Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance is putting out the call for applicants wishing to take advantage of the Armed Forces Committee Scholarship.

The scholarship aims to help active duty, retired military and family dependents afford college.

“We hope that this scholarship can let the brave men and women of our Armed Forces know how much we appreciate their sacrifices and contributions to our community and our country,” said John Garay, chair of the Armed Forces Committee.

The scholarship was created in 1997 and has been offered annually since then.

Eligible applicants must be in their second semester of college or later, and they must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. They also must live within the Alliance’s service area, which includes the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County.

Applications can be found at www.williamsburgcc.com, and must be submitted by July 10. Awards will be announced in the late summer, prior to the start of the fall school semester.