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Hospice volunteers needed to serve Unicoi County

A local hospice organization is hoping to capitalize on Tennessee’s volunteer spirit.
Bethany Leatherwood, a volunteer coordinator for Caris Healthcare, told The Erwin Record her organization, which serves Unicoi, Greene and Hawkins counties, is recruiting individuals to provide care to terminal patients.
Caris provides care to patients in their home, a family member’s home or a nursing facility.
“We have so many hospice patients in the Unicoi County area that are in dire need of a volunteer to just come out and be their friend, read the newspaper or hold their hand,” Leatherwood said. “These patients have been told they are terminal and if the disease progresses on the normal path, they have six months or less to live. Some of these patients have no one, no family or friends left. They sit alone hoping for a visitor other than their hospice nurses.”
Leatherwood said Caris is recruiting individuals for three types of volunteer opportunities – special projects, administrative work and patient care.
“There is no age limit on special project volunteers and a background check is not required,” Leatherwood said. “Preschool groups can create crafts while older people can knit or crochet prayer shawls. Special project volunteers can also perform yard work and cook meals that can be frozen to provide to families in need. The opportunities for outreach are limitless.”
Those wishing to volunteer for administrative work must have a background check and go through training.
“They can help with clerical tasks in the office as well as help call Bingo and other games at nursing facilities,” Leatherwood said.
Volunteers for patient care must be at least 16 years old, have a background check, drug screen and training.
“Our patient volunteers spend time with patients providing short – a maximum of two hours – respite care for caregivers, companionship, including reading, telling stories, and sharing laughs,” Leatherwood also said.
Caris will cover the cost of drug screens, background checks and training.
“The amount of time someone volunteers is very flexible,” Leatherwood said. “We strive to make the volunteer experience as easy and rewarding for our volunteers as we can.”
Those interested in volunteering for Caris should contact volunteer coordinator Jessica Bailey at 638-2226 or [email protected]