A training course will start soon for folks interested in becoming Hospice Volunteers. No medical knowledge is necessary. Just a desire to help.

Hospice volunteers are special people. They give up their time to make the lives of terminally ill patients a little brighter. Administering medicine or changing dressings is not part of their responsibilies. Instead, they play board games, or read aloud, or maybe even watch a movie together.

I've seen it first-hand, that when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, their whole lives revolve around it. Family and friends don't know what to say, so they either stay away or they ask about the illness. And the person who's sick often just wants to talk about their hobbies, or watch a movie. They're not dead. They're still alive and still that same person they were before the diagnosis. It's up to the Hospice Volunteers to recognize that and see them as people. Not sick people. But just...people.

Hospice of Eastern Maine is offering a volunteer training course, starting on October 13th and meeting on Tuesday afternoons until November 17th. The sessions are held from noon to 4 p.m. at the EMMC Healthcare Mall on Union Street in Bangor. The training course will help volunteers to understand the dynamics of end-of-life and prepare them to effectively provide companionship, emotional support, respite, and bereavement support for patients and their families.

Hospice of Eastern Maine is Bangor's oldest hospice and has been meeting the end-of-life needs in local communities since 1981. HOEM is a program of Bangor Area Visiting Nurses and part of Eastern Maine Homecare.

For more information about becoming a patient care volunteer or to learn about other volunteer opportunities with hospice of Eastern Maine, please call Wayne Melanson, Volunteer Manager, at 973-8269 or email him at wmelanson@emhs.org. Aspiring patient care volunteers must complete an application and interview prior to October 9th.