Saint Francis Hospice Program Seeking Volunteers

Saint Francis Medical Center is seeking volunteers for its new Hospice Services Program. Volunteers in Southeast Missouri are needed to help assist patients in their homes. Saint Francis Hospice will be offered in four counties: Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Perry and Stoddard.

“Volunteers are a vital role in the hospice program,” says Claire Kneer, RN, BSN, MHA, Hospice Services program manager. “They are needed to provide companionship to patients in their final stages of life and offer much needed support to family members and caregivers.” She says volunteers can also help alleviate the stress that life-limiting illnesses bring to each patient and family.

Hospice care is appropriate for any patient who is terminally ill or whose health is rapidly declining. It offers a full continuum of medical care – available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – that allows patients to be comfortable in familiar surroundings, whether that’s in their own home, at a nursing home or in an assisted-living facility.

When curative treatment is no longer an option, the Hospice Services Program works closely with Saint Francis’ Palliative Care Program to provide seamless transitional care. Patients in declining health due to chronic heart failure, cancer, AIDS, renal failure, Alzheimer’s disease or other issues may also be referred to the Hospice Services Program by their physician, a family member or other caregiver.

Some typical responsibilities of Hospice volunteer care include sitting with patients, initiating enjoyable conversation, playing games and watching television with the patient, reading to the patient, writing letters for the patients, running small errands, or providing assistance with personal care. “Volunteers will never be asked to do something they are not comfortable with doing,” says Kneer.

Requirements for volunteers include the ability to perform some physical activities, such as frequently standing or walking with patients and occasionally lifting up to ten pounds. Volunteers may also be required to supply written and computer documentation of the patients.

Hospice volunteers can gain personal satisfaction by understanding the great impact they have had on others’ lives. Join the Saint Francis Hospice volunteer team and make a lasting difference in the hearts and lives of your community. To become a Hospice volunteer, call Saint Francis Volunteer Services at 573-331-5166 or email volunteer@sfmc.net/dev-2015.

Donations to Hospice Services Program are accepted through Saint Francis Foundation at www.foundation.sfmc.net/dev-2015 or by calling 573-331-5133.

For more information about Saint Francis’ new Hospice Services Program, call 573-331-3177.

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