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Hospice volunteers care, share, make a difference

Hospital news | Thursday, March 26, 2015

“Being a Hospice volunteer is the most rewarding thing I do!” shared a Hospice volunteer. “I have learned so much from my patients. They have openly shared their life experiences reminding me that each day is precious and has value.”

“This is just one of the many positive statements that Hospice volunteers have shared with us as they reflect on their experiences,” explained Valerie Erickson, RN, Crossing Rivers Health Hospice and Palliative Care Manager. “Our volunteers play a vital role in our program. The philosophy stresses quality of life, enabling a patient and family to make personal choices that lead to a fuller, more meaningful life. Our volunteers are specially trained to support patients and family members. They may run an errand, read a magazine article, help write an e-mail message or just chat over a cup of coffee. Volunteers are also very helpful with administrative tasks as they assist in the office and help plan fundraising events.”

Hospice with Crossing Rivers Health is welcoming additional volunteers to their team by offering new volunteer training. The 16-hour training sessions are scheduled on five evenings starting at 5:30 p.m.- Monday, April 27, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.; Wednesday, April 29, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.; Tuesday, May 5, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Wednesday, May 6, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Monday, May 11, 5:30 to 8:30 Crossing Rivers Health, Polodna Health Learning Center, 705 East Taylor Street, Prairie du Chien. Individuals must attend all five sessions to be certified to volunteer for hospice. The training sessions include learning about communication and listening, family dynamics, disease processes, bereavement and grief, medication and pain management, nutrition and hydration, spirituality, and death and the dying process. Annual TB screenings will also be completed at these times. There is no cost to attend; refreshments will be served.

“Our staff works closely with the Hospice Medical Directors in the four-county area of Crawford and Grant Counties in Southwest Wisconsin and Allamakee and Clayton Counties in Northeast Iowa,” adds Barb Stagman, Social Worker and Volunteer Coordinator. “The Hospice Medical Directors include Dr. Owen Vincent and Dr. Walter Boisvert at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien, Dr. Jeffrey Hoffmann at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital, and Dr. David Schwartz at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon. Crossing Rivers Health Hospice also works closely with five hospitals, 15 nursing homes, and assisted living facilities in the area.”

Individuals interested in becoming a hospice certified volunteer are asked to sign up for the training sessions by contacting Barb Stagman, Social Worker/Volunteer Coordinator at 608-357-2000 or via email at