From Staff Reports

Mountain States Hospice is holding a one-day volunteer training workshop on May 24 at the Clinchfield Senior Center, 220 Union St., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hospice care focuses on patients in the last phases of life and provides loving support and care for them and their families. Volunteers may work directly and/or indirectly with hospice patients and their loved ones. They may perform a variety of vital tasks, including administrative duties, spending time with patients, and providing breaks for patient family members.

Volunteers range in age from 14 up to retirees, although they must be at least 18 to sit with patients. Volunteers will be required to have a tuberculosis (TB) test and a background check, which will be paid for by Mountain States Health Alliance.

Mountain States currently has a critical need for volunteers in Unicoi County, Erwin and the town of Unicoi.

The training gives volunteers the tools they need to interact with patients, care for the caregivers, identify areas where they might be useful, and work with hospice nurses, chaplains and social workers. Through discussion and video, volunteers will learn about HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and privacy requirements, and what is appropriate to say and do around hospice patients and their families. No clinical training is involved.

As part of a special community of givers, many Mountain States Hospice volunteers find their work to be very gratifying. They are also recognized and celebrated during National Volunteer Week and at Mountain States’ annual volunteer appreciation dinner.

“Being a volunteer for Mountain States Hospice is very rewarding,” said Frieda Pickett, a veteran volunteer. “Many of the clients I care for are in great need of someone to just come and sit with them, help them in small ways and provide conversation and friendship. They’re very appreciative, and they tell me so. I’m grateful I have the time to do this valuable work.”

Please RSVP by May 23 by calling 423-431-7621. Lunch and light refreshments will be served.