LITTLETON — North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency, an affiliate of North Country Healthcare, which serves all of Coos and the northern part of Grafton Counties, will offer hospice volunteer training. The training is free and open to community members from all over the North Country, who are interested in being involved in the hospice program, or who would like to learn more about end-of-life care and issues of death and dying, for personal and/or professional reasons.

The hospice volunteer training will be offered in two sessions, at two different locations this spring. The first, at Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook, on four consecutive Mondays, from 1-5 p.m., beginning April 1. The second, at North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency’s Main Office in Littleton, on four consecutive Tuesdays, from 1-5 p.m., beginning on April 9. The range of topics presented and contemplated in the group include: the history and philosophy of hospice, perspectives on death and dying, self-care, communication and listening skills, signs of impending death and comfort care, grief and loss and care of spirit.

Hospice is a philosophy of care and a delivery system of that care. It is about living and dying well; being as comfortable, complete and at peace as possible. Hospice is acknowledging that we are dying (which is usually the hardest part) and then living until we do. The guiding premise is that people’s needs at their end-of-life are much more than just medical. Although hospice care is directed by physicians and provided primarily by nurses who specialize in end-of-life care; volunteers, social workers, clergy, home health aides and homemakers are all essential contributors to the care and well-being of the patient and their loved ones.

Participating in the hospice training does not commit individuals to become volunteers. Participants can decide after completing the program if they wish to continue and join the North Country Home Health & Hospice Agency Hospice Volunteer Program. The opportunities hospice volunteers can provide for patients include companionship and respite care, sitting vigil in the last hours, supportive tasks in the home (i.e., cooking, walking the dog), bereavement support, hospice administrative assistance, and professional services (i.e., massage therapy, reiki, grooming, music therapy). All professional services require proof of licensure/certification depending on profession.

To register for the training or for further information, contact Tiffany Haynes-Hicks, director of Hospice at (603) 444-5317 or thaynes@nchhha.org. Pre-registration is required.

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