[Editor’s note: This week’s “News from the Noteworthy” comes from Tammy Christman, Director of Community Outreach and Volunteer Services for Helios Care.]
April 17-23 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and organizations across the country are celebrating the wonderful works of volunteers. The value of hospice volunteers cannot be overstated. The desire to give time and talents freely, to those on the end-of-life journey, emanates from a heart of compassion and a spirit of giving.
Whether providing direct or indirect support, volunteers are an integral part of our team. Helios Care’s exceptional volunteers use their gifts and skills to help provide patients, caregivers, and families with the most peaceful and comfortable end-of-life experience possible. Our outstanding office and fundraising volunteers also work diligently behind the scenes to contribute towards this best possible care for patients and families.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the hospice benefit provided by Medicare, and Helios Care has provided care to members of our communities since the early 1980s. What began as hospice care delivered solely by volunteers and clergy has since developed into expert medical care provided to individuals in their home or place of residence as well as support for the caregiver and families. Even as the organization has grown, volunteers have continued to be critical members of our team.
As a condition of funding for hospice care, Medicare requires the total number of hours that hospice volunteers contribute must equal at least five percent of the total number of patient care hours provided by paid hospice employees and contract staff. For the past two years, because of the pandemic, this requirement has been waived — but Helios Care volunteers have continued to serve in a variety of ways.
It is a great honor to share that in 2021, the incredible Helios Care volunteer team provided a cost savings of $113,596.80, drove 19,137 miles and contributed 7% of patient care hours. Thank you!!!
You might think it would be too hard to be a volunteer for hospice. It can be, but there are so many different opportunities to help. These include spending time with patients, delivering flowers for special occasions, calling families weekly to check-in with them, staffing fundraising events or helping with the Helios Care Thrift Shop and Boutique.
A current volunteer recently shared that “the reward is so much bigger for me than it is for the patients and their families.”
Helios Care Volunteers exemplify the special heart and spirit of hospice. Our volunteers share their time and talents in countless ways, and they are, without a doubt, an essential part of our interdisciplinary team. This week and throughout the year, we honor and celebrate our outstanding volunteers.
The entire team at Helios Care, with deep respect and gratitude, thanks all of our volunteers for making such a meaningful difference to those we serve during one of life’s most precious times.
You can learn more about Helios Care by calling 607-432-6773 or by visiting www.helioscare.org