VNA & Hospice offers volunteer training


BENNINGTON — The Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Southwest Region is offering a one-day class for those interested in becoming hospice volunteers. Training will be held on Saturday, April 6 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Seminar Room at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. Training is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required.

Once training is complete, assignments and schedules are tailored to the volunteer's geographic and time commitment preferences. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and need to pass a background check. No previous hospice and health care experience is required.

Hospice volunteers provide comfort and support to patients facing terminal illness, as well as respite and support to their families. Volunteer training covers the basic principles of hospice, understanding the special needs of patients and their families, effective communication, patient care, pain and symptom management, spiritual caregiving and understanding grief and loss. Hospice volunteers are trained in listening skills, family dynamics and in using appropriate words to comfort patients and their loved ones at the end of life.

"Whether someone is interested in providing direct or indirect support, hospice volunteers are an integral part of the hospice team," said Mary Pleasant, hospice volunteer coordinator. "Hospice volunteering allows exceptional caring individuals to use their gifts and skills to help provide patients, caregivers, and families with the most peaceful and comfortable end-of-life experience possible and there are benefits to our volunteers. Not only do our volunteers tell us they have a deeper understanding of death and dying, but they also gain an enriched sense of other cultures and beliefs and have an enhanced sense of fulfillment to the community."

For more information or to enroll, call Mary Pleasant at 802-442-0540 or email at

With office locations in Bennington, Dorset, Manchester and Rutland, the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region has nearly 350 health professionals and caregivers committed to providing care to patients and families.



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