Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon declared the first National Volunteer
Week to recognize Americans who give of their time and talents to benefit
others. This was the same year, 1974, that the Connecticut Hospice –
one of the first hospices in the country – opened its doors changing
the way dying persons were cared for in the U.S.
During National Volunteer Week, April 6 – 12, Hospice of Frederick
County honors its dedicated volunteers who provide support, companionship
and dignity to members of the community facing serious and life-limiting illness.
“Hospice care in Frederick County began as a grassroots volunteer
movement. We could not do the work we have been doing at Hospice of Frederick
County since March of 1980 without our dedicated volunteers” said
Laurel Cucchi, Executive Director.
In 2013, 140 volunteers gave a total of 8,826 hours of their time to help
Hospice of Frederick County care for patients and families in the community.
Volunteers made 2, 932 patient visits and helped raise hospice awareness
at 16 fairs, speaking engagements and fundraisers. They saved Hospice
of Frederick County a total of $203,439.
Volunteers serve patients and families at the bedside and the Kline Hospice
House, but they also
- assist in the office
- help raise awareness
- contribute to educational programs
- serve on the Board of Directors and Development Council
- help facilitate support groups
- provide fundraising support and more
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that there
are an estimated 400,000 trained hospice volunteers providing more than
19 million hours of service to hospice programs each year. An estimated
1.6 million patients in the U.S. are cared for by hospice every year.
Hospice volunteers help the people they serve live every moment of life
to the fullest and enable the organizations they work with to achieve
their mission in the community. Most hospice volunteers choose to give
their time helping others because of their own experience with the compassionate
care hospice provided to a dying loved one.
“The wonderful people of Hospice of Frederick County took care of
my wife, Sonja, for the last 10 months of her life,”
says Joe Brotman, Hospice of Frederick County Volunteer. “What they
gave us was far beyond a helping hand.They gave us a level of care and
support that I never knew existed, and I certainly never expected. I now
volunteer my time at Hospice in an attempt to give back in some small
measure what was given to me.”
It is federally mandated under Medicare that five percent of all patient
care hours be provided by trained volunteers reflecting the vital role
that volunteers play in the provision of care.
For those interested in learning more about hospice or volunteer opportunities,
please visit hospiceoffrederick.org or call 240-566-3030.