The Review Newspaper

Carefor seeking volunteers for palliative clients

Carefor has programs and support in place to support those facing life-limiting illnesses. It has a volunteer bank that supports people by visiting them in their homes, or sometimes, just by spending time with family members offering care for those who are ill. Carefor is currently looking to recruit new volunteers.

Through their journey of anxiety, fear, and each one’s own personal definition of loss, palliative clients are also reminded that through their own personal experiences, that there are, and have been, moments of  love and support, which leads them to have hope in their moments of despair….while these transformations are occurring, the palliative clients’ focus shifts, and a new paradigm emerges, transforming these experiences into a new and different quality of life that they believed was no longer possible.

Carefor’s Palliative Volunteer Services provide the support, assistance, and the practical help which is needed.

The home clients are supported by the volunteers’ presence, even if it means just watching a show or movie with them. Volunteers offer compassion and caring. They can read to clients, take them for coffee if they are functional enough to do so, many go down memory lane with them, for they have much on their mind, and they need someone to listen to them, and where they sometimes tell their deepest wishes, hopes, and secrets when there is nobody else and, …all of course is confidential.

One of the great things about Palliative Home Visitor Volunteers is that they can provide ‘respite’ for family members giving them the break they truly need to be able to do errands, take care of themselves, or meet with friends for a visit and -have coffee, without feeling guilty about it. Often, the family, or friends are on “lockdown,” along with the clients – 24/7 and simply because they don’t have anyone to replace them for a few hours. Many family members end up with “caregiver burnout.” Carefor provides much-needed support to families with its services.

The Palliative Day Program, which has been very successful, allows clients who have had a diagnosis of a Life Limiting Disease, and who are still functional enough to be transported back and forth, to enjoy the benefits once per week of having a place where all the participants are on the same wave-length, and are having similar life experiences. This is a ‘sacred sanctum’ for them, they can discuss anything they like, they do arts and crafts, they are taken on day trips, and  they also benefit from zootherapy, reflexology, reiki, and special guests when available.

They have a very full day with lunch and snacks and special yearly themes; birthdays are celebrated.

These clients are entitled to these services ‘free of charge’ and participants to the Day Program are assessed on their functions to establish the potential of  being able to attend. In other words, they must be able to travel back and forth without harm or distress. Because Prescott-Russell is a large territory, it services a large rural area that spans from Chute a Blondeau right to Russell, and Carefor wants to assure that clients reach the Day Program safe and sound after what could be a 40 to 45-minute ride.

If they prefer, a Home Volunteer may be what they need because of distance; both are options.

Volunteers receive a complete, 30-hour training from HCPO (Hospice Care Palliative Association), taught by a Health Care Professional.

It is important to note that to provide these services, Carefor is always looking to increase its bank of volunteers.

Referral to these services can include self-referral, family and friends or acquaintances, and of course any Health Care Professional who is aware of an individual who could benefit at the onset of a diagnosis. Carefor wants to be able to give assistance to these clients immediately so that they do not feel isolated, that there is a continuity of care and ‘quality of life’ for them, and that at this turning point in their life, they are not alone.

For more information on referrals, or becoming a Palliative Volunteer, please contact Carmen at Carefor at 613-632-0418 or email:  cverdugo@carefor.ca


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