ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — A local not-for-profit organization in Ashland is in need of volunteers for an important service—hospice care.
Inside Community Hospice, it looks like a normal day; with the staff tending to their jobs—in some cases, making final days more comfortable for their patients.
What you don’t see is a critical element of that care which has been missing for nearly a year.
“COVID impacted us pretty significantly in the volunteer department. Just due to COVID restrictions, we really couldn’t have a whole lot of volunteers working,” says Andrea Arnett, director of Volunteer Services at Community Hospice.
One volunteer who was working throughout the pandemic is Thomas McCormick. He’s been volunteering with Community Hospice for six years.
“I just thought, ‘I need to do something, I need to give back,'” McCormick says.
However, right now there aren’t enough people like Thomas. While the pandemic may now be easing a bit, the problem inside Community Hospice continues.
“Hospice actually requires volunteer hours, so it’s one of the few areas in the medical field that require volunteers, so the need is definitely there,” Arnett says.
However, there is a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in this story, and it’s just around the corner:
“We are having our first volunteer orientation since COVID hit…This is new volunteer training, so its open to anyone who’s interested,” Arnett says.
The training is two days long, and opportunities at the facility range from clerical duties to answering phones to sitting with patients and offering their caregivers respite to even public relations events.
Arnett is hoping there are more folks out there like Thomas McCormick.
“I would say to anyone, I don’t care if you have a disability—which mine is my eyes—there is a great reward not just necessarily for what you do but who you’re doing it for. You’re doing it for our community, you’re doing it for people who need to have someone come and you know, talk with ’em,” McCormick says.
The volunteer opportunities offered don’t necessarily have to be in-person, either.
“We also have opportunities to work from home, so if you’re someone that wants to give back to your community but isn’t quite ready to get out yet due to COVID, those opportunities are available too,” Arnett says.
The only requirements to volunteering are being over 15 and going through the training which they provide.
The first training sessions are May 19th and 20th from 9:00am to 4:30pm at the Community Hospice office located at 1480 Carter Avenue in Ashland, Kentucky. You must register to attend. Social distancing will be observed.
For more information, visit their website here.