Fall training program: Volunteer to be yourself

Susie Duquette, certified hospice and palliative nurse and volunteer coordinator, prepares eight new volunteers for working with patients during a fall training event on Thursday at the Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice office in Marquette. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE– Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice held a fall volunteer training program on Thursday.

Susie Duquette, certified hospice and palliative nurse and volunteer coordinator, prepared eight recruits for working with patients during the training event. Duquette described what the organization is looking for in a volunteer.

“For everyone to be themselves,” she said. “They are just going in as human beings with whatever kindness and compassion they have to share with our patients.”

Topics covered during the training session included patient confidentiality, healthy boundaries, the importance of hand washing, signs and symptoms of approaching death and other issues surrounding end-of-life care.

While there are many points to consider when committing as a volunteer, Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice is mainly looking for individuals to serve as companions to patients when family members are not there.

“Often families need a break to be able to get groceries, or go to their doctors,” Duquette said. “Being able to have someone there lets them rest easy.”

On Thursday, Duquette trained the eight new volunteers and offered a condensed training session on Friday for five more individuals who could not make the earlier program.

“We could always use more, especially in the summer and in the winter months when college students leave and snowbirds go south,” she said.

Volunteers are asked to complete 100 hours of services annually. Service hours can include fundraising events or office work.

Duquette mentioned that, on average, a volunteer sticks with the program for four to 20 years.

“We are 100 percent a nonprofit and heavily rely on volunteers,” Duquette said.

For more information, call the Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice office at 906-225-7760.