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By Jake Dowling, Icon intern
A weekly class for Bridge Home Health & Hospice training in Bluffton has been under way and going strong since early May.
"We hold classes four times a year," said Julie Tiell, volunteer coordinator for Bridge Hospice. "This is the first year we have held such classes here in Bluffton."
Bridge Hospice has offices in Findlay, Bowling Green and Tiffin, but its program wanted to reach out to areas such as Allen County too.
The class, which runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays in the third floor of town hall, concludes on June 13, with more classes planned in the fall.
"The classes gives volunteers knowledge on how hospice care works and how to better prepare for it," Tiell said. "Many volunteers come in already having some sort of involvement in a hospice care and that is why they in turn volunteer."
Classes cover basic principles of hospice, such as, understanding the needs of patients and their families, effective communication, patient care, pain and symptom management, spiritual care giving and understanding grief and loss.
No previous hospice experience is necessary; however, volunteers must be at least 18 years old.
"Anyone from the ages 18 to 88 can join, but mainly we get volunteers ages 45 and above,"
Tiell said. "All volunteers have encountered some sort of hospice experience; rather it's from working at a hospice, or having a family member admitted to one."
Classes are free to anyone interested and are structured with a guest speaker lecturing on a subject for that week, with the lecture ending in open discussions between volunteers and the guest speaker.
Once volunteers complete the classes in June, they will become certified hospice volunteers.
Following training, volunteers can choose their area of involvement, such as caregiver relief, bereavement, care center, nursing home visitors, speakers' bureau, gift of dreams or clerical work.
"The classes help volunteers look into their faith and see what they truly believe in," Tiell said.
About Bridge Home Health & Hospice
Accredited by the Joint Commission, Bridge Hospice accepts Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance or private payment. Bridge Hospice provides service to eight counties in northwest Ohio, including Hancock, Wood, Henry, Putnam, Allen, Hardin, Wyandot and Seneca Counties.
Bridge Hospice has been named to the top 25 percent of home care providers in the U.S. by the 2011 Home Care Elite, a compilation of the most successful Medicare-certified home health care providers in the United States.
For more information about Bridge Home Health & Hospice, click here for its website.