Emerald Coast Hospice seeks volunteers

Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 04:20 PM.

“The Memory Care Program is an excellent program for those who have Alzheimer’s but it’s also good for the caregivers as well because a lot of the caregivers are the ones that are suffering,” said Smith. “They are the ones that are taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s and they are the ones that are staying up all night. One of the things we’re doing for that is hiring extra nurses to provide care 24 hours, especially for those who have Alzheimer’s because a lot of them have sundowners.”

She explained that “sundowners” refers to those suffering with Alzheimer’s who stay up during the night.

“We do provide 24-hour care, 365 days out of the year and a referral doesn’t have to come from a physician, it can come from a member of the community,” said Smith. “And the thing is to get in there as soon as possible and not be only days away from dying. The preferred amount of time is within six months to a year to be able to get in and educate the family.”

She said they not only provide nursing care but they also provide social workers who can handle wills and psycho-social issues, as well as chaplains and volunteers. Smith then introduced Lamb to explain about the volunteer program.

“One of the things that got me so interested in this position, besides the fact that I have a health care background, is that I volunteered when I first got here just to get in touch with the surrounding community,” said Lamb. “It’s a great way to reach out to the community and make a difference and that’s probably the biggest reason why people come forward to volunteer. A good portion of our volunteers are folks who have had an experience with hospice, whether it be with our hospice or with another hospice company.”

She said there are many different levels of volunteering available to choose from.

“The most obvious is being with the patient,” she said. “Patient care services is where you would go into the home or into the nursing home or in the hospital and sit with that patient and offer them companionship, emotional support and friendship. It’s amazing how much they will tell a volunteer versus a nurse or a doctor or a family member.”

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