National Volunteer Week is April 21 – 27, 2013 and those dedicated individuals offering support, companionship and hope to those facing a life-limiting illness deserve special recognition for the difference they make in America.
More than 1.65 million patients in the U.S. are cared for by hospice every year.
“Hospice volunteers play an indispensable role in enabling hospice and palliative care organizations to offer the best care possible for patients living with life-limiting illness, their families and caregivers,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “By sharing their time, energy, and expertise, volunteers bring compassion and caring to the lives of those in need.”
Hospice volunteers often serve patients and families at the bedside but they also assist in the office, help raise awareness, contribute to educational programs, and provide fundraising support and more.
It is federally mandated under Medicare that five percent of all patient care hours be provided by trained volunteers. This regulation reflects the vital role that volunteers play in the hospice philosophy of care and ensures that a hospice program has roots deep in the community.
On Friday, April 26, the National Hospice Foundation will present the Buchwald Spirit of Caring Award to actress and hospice advocate Torrey DeVitto who herself has been serving as a hospice volunteer for six years.
DeVitto has been encouraging younger Americans to learn more about hospice and to consider giving their time to this important service.
Said DeVitto, “As a hospice volunteer, I’ve seen first-hand the comfort, love and respect hospice brings to all the people they care for. I offer my thanks to all the hospice volunteers across the country who are doing so much for their communities.”