Hospice of Michigan Seeks Volunteers in Alpena

Alpena, Michigan, January 25, 2016 – Hospice of Michigan, the largest nonprofit hospice and palliative care organization in Michigan, is seeking volunteers to help support patient care.

While opportunities for an HOM volunteer are virtually limitless, some of the organization’s more specific and immediate needs include care by:

  • Professional and licensed massage therapists, hairstylists and manicurists
  • Art and music therapists
  • Bedside companions able to talk, watch TV or play games with patients
  • Sitting vigil, a special program that ensure no patient dies alone
  • Veterans willing to connect with others through the organization’s We Honor Veterans program

Alpena resident Kristin Carriveau decided to volunteer for Hospice of Michigan after seeing the care provided to her grandmother when she was dying.

“It really touched my heart to see the services they provided,” she recalled. “Hospice of Michigan is always there, whenever you need them, day or night. Losing someone is a hard journey to walk, but they are right alongside you when you need support the most – and then step back when you don’t.”

The 40-year-old was asked to speak about her experience with HOM during Alpena’s Walk and Remember fundraiser last summer, and even though she was out of her “comfort zone,” she did. She also provides companionship visits and caregiver relief, ensuring that patients have someone to visit with while their loved ones can spend a few minutes relaxing or tending to other needs.

“To me, one of the neat benefits of volunteering is getting to know patients and what’s important to them,” Carriveau said. “Through conversations, you come to understand the things that are most precious to them, things they really hold close in their hearts.

“It helps you put your own life in perspective. It’s the most real living being done.”

Amanda Fleming, volunteer program coordinator at HOM, couldn’t agree more.

“Volunteers are an integral part of a hospice team, helping to provide comfort at the end of life,” Fleming said. We are particularly looking for volunteers who can provide important touches of grace to our patients, such as the beauty of music and art, the comfort of a new hairstyle or the companionship of a pet.”

Prospective volunteers will be asked to go through a training course where they learn more about HOM, the principles of hospice, the grieving process and how to help patients, families and staff. If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Hospice of Michigan or to sign up as a volunteer, visit https://www.hom.org/get-involved/ or contact Fleming at 989.358.4293 or afleming@hom.org.

Even though she has four children at home, Carriveau said she still finds time to volunteer – and encourages others to do so as well.

“Volunteering for Hospice of Michigan doesn’t have to be time-consuming,” she noted. “Amanda is very good at making sure she’s respectful of schedules and not overwhelming a volunteer with too many things. If you have 30-60 minutes to give once a week, that will work.

“HOM needs all different kinds of volunteers. Do you love sports? You could make someone’s day just by talking about last night’s game.  Can you sing or play an instrument? You could see the patients suffering from dementia light up with excitement at the sound of a familiar tune.”

For those who have experienced a loss, HOM encourages a waiting period of one year before becoming a volunteer in order to allow for the processing of grief.

About Hospice of Michigan
A nationally recognized leader in end-of-life care, Hospice of Michigan is the original – and largest – hospice in the state. The nonprofit cares for more than 1,800 patients each day, raising more than $5 million each year to cover the cost of care for the uninsured and underinsured. HOM offers a broad range of services to enhance the quality of life at the end of life, including At Home Support™, our advanced illness management program, community-based palliative care and pediatric care programs. HOM provides grief support and counseling, caregiver education and support, and education programs for physicians and healthcare professionals through its research, training and education arm, the Hospice of Michigan Institute. For more information, call 888.247.5701 or visit www.hom.org.