(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Volunteers play an important role in most every aspect of life. From coaching children's ball teams to spending time visiting residents in nursing home facilities, volunteers are needed and appreciated.
Several Leachville residents, Beverly Watkins, Marlyn Looney, Janet Taylor, Zelma Keith and Joe and Kay Hultquist, attended an Arkansas Hospice Volunteer Training session held at the Leachville United Methodist Church on Wednesday.
Arkansas Hospice is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that serves more than 30 counties throughout the state, with nine offices and two inpatient centers. More than 400 volunteers have been trained and have an important role on the Arkansas Hospice team. Hospice teams are made up of doctors, nurses, nurse aides, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors and volunteers.
"Arkansas Hospice began the present home-based program in 1998. We are just starting in this area and appreciate this group from Leachville," Eleanor Farber, social worker for Arkansas Hospice, said.
Joining Farber in the training sessions were Harriet Hawkins, director of volunteers for Arkansas Hospice; Anna Noack, RN, CHPN, Arkansas Hospice; and Tammy Crawford, RN, Arkansas Hospice.
Arkansas Hospice provides care for the terminally ill at home, in nursing homes and at inpatient hospice centers. It offers volunteer opportunities with direct patient care, office support and fundraising events.
During the training session, volunteers learned the history and philosophy of hospice and Arkansas Hospice; safety and infection control and procedures, family dynamics and psychosocial issues, roles and responsibilities of the hospice volunteer.
"Many people think this is a difficult thing to do," Crawford said. "It is rewarding to help patients to live their final days in comfort and offer support to family members."
"We take anyone who meets the hospice criteria regardless of their ability to pay," Farber said. "Last year over $1 million in charity care was provided."
The not-for-profit hospice program serves 350 patients daily. Monetary donations, such as memorials, gifts or bequests, allow Arkansas Hospice to provide bereavement services and volunteer programs such as Arkansas Hospice Angels services. Hospice care is provided through charitable care, Medicare or Medicaid hospice benefits, private insurance or private pay.
Service locations are in Little Rock, Hot Springs, Batesville, Cabot, Conway, Monticello, Pine Bluff, Russellville and West Memphis.
Farber again expressed her appreciation to the Leachville volunteers.
"Arkansas Hospice is a good organization and we appreciate the work they do," Beverly Watkins, pastor of Leachville United Methodist Church, said.