Bulkley Valley Hospice Society (BVHS) is looking for a few more volunteers to join their team. They are looking for caring, compassionate individuals who are sensitive to the special needs of those people and their families dealing with chronic illness and/or end-of-life. Hospice coordiater for BVHS, Denise Kalina said those interested don’t necessarily have to have experience with end-of-life care and volunteers will go through training.
“Our training program meets national standards for volunteer palliative care,” she said.
“If it is end of life, sometimes they can be unconscious. We read to them, we sing to them. In the past we’ve had people do healing touch, if it is asked [for],” she said. “Sometimes it is just sitting there, we can be that voice for them, health professionals can’t always be in the room, we can say they are getting restless I think they are in pain and they might need something more for pain.”
Kalina added unlike bigger hospice societies in other cities, volunteers don’t have set hours every week and need to be flexible.
“Our hospice is a small hospice. Our referrals, are like healthcare, ebbs and flows, feast or famine, ups and downs. Right now we only have two referrals on the go and then we can get two or three a month but then we might not see anything for three months. People have to be okay with that.”
About two years ago the society started a program called Nav-Care and specifically need volunteers to help run it.
“It is about meeting clients who are frail, elderly or have chronic disease sooner in the trajectory so we aren’t going in there right at the end, we are going in sooner and we are providing more of a companionship. There is more of a relationship formed,” Kalina added.
Nav-Care volunteers can help relieve feelings of loneliness, discuss important decisions and future plans as well as help to re-engage in hobbies. The society currently has approximately 20 volunteers and would like another eight to 10 people. Kalina said most of their volunteers have been with them for a long time.
“It isn’t just about the numbers, but a group of people who are sincerely interested in the line of work.”