Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice seeks participants for upcoming volunteer training

MARQUETTE — If you’re looking to lend a helping hand to local hospice patients, Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice is spreading the word about an upcoming training for volunteers.

The free hospice volunteer training will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice office along West Baraga Avenue in Marquette, with participants asked to register by Friday.

Attendees will learn from a number of interdisciplinary presenters about hospice basics, what volunteers can expect, psychological and spiritual issues pertinent to hospice, communications, comfort measures, coping with stress, HIPPA compliance, infection control and more, said Susie Duquette, Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice volunteer coordinator.

Volunteers should be age 18 or older and have reliable transportation. However, beyond those requirements, “compassion and a friendly smile are really all you need,” Duquette emphasized.

“We are a nonprofit hospice and we do rely heavily on our volunteers,” she said.

Becoming a hospice volunteer not only helps the hospice group, its patients and their families, but can also provide a valuable experience for the volunteer, especially students interested in pursuing a career in medicine, Duquette said.

“Volunteering with hospice is a very meaningful experience. It will allow you to meet different people and become connected with them,” she said.

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities through the agency, she said. For example, volunteers can serve as friendly visitors to hospice patients or help them with basic tasks, such as errands or writing a letter.

Or, for those who might have a musical ability or a certified therapy animal, they can bring their instrument or their animal to a hospice patient.

“Music really takes patients to a different time in their lives and it connects to everyone, music does; and it’s the same thing with pets,” Duquette said.

Beyond working directly with hospice patients and families, volunteers can also help out in the office, assist with social media outreach or events and fundraisers. There are also opportunities to work in the hospice’s bereavement and veteran-to-veteran programs, she said.

No matter what a person’s skills or interests might be, there’s a volunteer position for them, Duquette said.

“We do a make a specific point to match that volunteer with a specific assignment,” she said, noting assignments can be switched and “mixed and matched” to fit a volunteer.

For those interested in becoming a volunteer but are unable to attend the training, Duquette encourages them to contact her, as she is able to offer one-on-one trainings between the fall and spring volunteer training sessions.

To register for the Oct. 17 class by Friday or learn more, call Duquette at 906-225-7760 or email her at sduquette@lakesuperiorhospice.org. The Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice office is located at 914 W. Baraga Ave. in Marquette.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.