Earlier this Fall, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a new cohort of potential volunteers completed their Basic Hospice Training in preparation for service to Chilliwack Hospice Society at Cascade Hospice Residence and with clients in the community.
Facilitated by Jennifer Dacre, Manager of Bereavement and Palliative Services, group participants met two to three times weekly through the month of September for a total of 35 hours required. Through lectures, videos, group activities, panel discussions, and guest speakers, participants learned about the history of hospice palliative care, types of grief and grieving styles, compassionate communication, and boundaries, working within family dynamics, psychosocial and spiritual care, perspectives on medical assistance in dying and pain management, supporting bereaved children and youth, complementary bereavement therapies, and prioritizing self-care.
Upon completion of Basic Hospice Training and a post-interview, 12 new individuals have begun job-shadowing existing volunteers at Cascade with the hope they will become regular client and patient volunteers themselves. Hospice volunteers are specially selected and trained individuals who have the maturity and experience to be a caring listener to a terminally ill or bereaved person or family member. Hospice volunteers are compassionate observers who bring a caring heart and an understanding approach to a stressful situation. Often our volunteers can be found sitting by the bedside of someone who is dying or bringing a cup of tea to one of their family members.
Chilliwack Hospice Society does not own or operate the Cascade Hospice Residence. Instead, hospice volunteers complement and work alongside the palliative health care team. Outside of the family support system, our volunteers are often the only other consistent presence in a patient’s final days. Hospice palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improve a patient’s quality of living until death.
To learn more about Basic Hospice Training and to join the waitlist for the next course, go to www.chilliwackhospice.org/education