Northwoods Home Health & Hospice, which serves all of Coos County and Bethlehem, N.H., announces two upcoming trainings.

The first is their Hospice Support Services Volunteer Training and the second is their Hospice Volunteer Training. The trainings are free and open to community members from all over the North Country who are interested in being involved with the Hospice Program or who would like to learn more for personal or professional reasons about the philosophy of Hospice care and issues of death and dying.

The Hospice Program has two levels of volunteer services that they offer. Support Services Volunteers complete a generalized 2-hour training and do not visit patients in their homes. Examples of their activities are hand-sewing Memory Bears, cooking meals and writing bereavement cards. Hospice Volunteers complete a 16-hour training and do visit patients in their homes. (Support Services Volunteers who decide they want to begin seeing patients in their homes would need to then complete the 16-hour training).

The one-day Support Services Training will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9--11 a.m. in the Weeks Medical Center Board Room (2nd Floor). Several of the topics covered are the History and Philosophy of Hospice, HIPAA/Confidentiality, Service Responsibilities and the Memory Bear Program.

"Hospice care is provided to terminally ill patients who have elected to pursue comfort care and to focus on quality of life. Our trained Hospice team addresses the medical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of our patients and those who care for them. Our Hospice Volunteers often provide companionship which may include sharing quiet conversations, playing cards, taking walks, writing letters or reading aloud," shares Karen Coy, RN, Hospice Director.

The Hospice Volunteer Training will be held on six Wednesdays, Oct. 1--Nov. 5, from 6--8:30 p.m. in the Weeks Medical Center Board Room (2nd floor). Several of the topics covered during this six week course include the History and Philosophy of Hospice, Hospice Ethics, Grieving Well, Caring for Ourselves, Spirituality in Hospice, Communication and Listening Skills, Family Dynamics, Emotional Aspects of Death and Dying, Funerals and Rituals. A wide range of topics is offered in order to prepare prospective volunteers to be able to appropriately support Hospice patients and their families. The informal style of presenting also encourages participants to ask questions and share their own experiences.

"Providing comforting and compassionate care to Hospice patients and their families is a crucial part of their hope for a quality end-of-life. Hospice Volunteers bring smiles, stories, warmth and kindheartedness every time they walk through a patient's door. Support Services Volunteers provide warm meals in a time of need and create tangible memories for our families with the Memory Bear Program both of which are a vital part of the support system that Northwoods Hospice provides," Marissa Rexford, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, explains.

Participating in the training does not commit individuals to become volunteers. Participants can decide after completing the training, if they wish to continue on and join the Northwoods Hospice Volunteer & Support Services Programs.

To register for either training or for further information, contact Marissa Rexford, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator for Northwoods Home Health & Hospice, at 1-800-750-2366 or 603-788-5020 or marissa.rexford@nnhhc.com. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required for both trainings.

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