Jan. 15, 2007

A friend in time of need

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Karee Anderson of Dassel gets more out of volunteering for hospice then she ever thought she would.

Anderson has worked in surgery at Glencoe Regional Health Services for 16 years, and in her free time she volunteers with ConnectCare Home Care and Hospice.

ConnectCare serves the areas of Hutchinson, Glencoe, Dassel, Cokato, and the surrounding area.

The hospice program gives families of the dying support through companionship, respite care, transportation, child care and bereavement support, according to Anderson.

“Being a volunteer, you learn a lot from clients and their families,” Anderson said.

Clients in hospice usually have less than one week to live so the caregiver is strictly there to support the family through the dying process, she explained.

“Some people don’t have anybody,” she said.

The volunteer does not do any personal care with the client. On average, Anderson will spend two to three hours with the client, and there are no overnights.

What Anderson likes about the ConnectCare program is that it’s on her own time. She can work as much or as little as she desires.

Currently, ConnectCare has 30 volunteers, registered nurses, a chaplain and a physician on board.

ConnectCare also offers a bereavement program that is offered to widows, widowers, and family. The volunteers will continue with follow-ups every three months, and up to a year after the death. At the one-year anniversary of the death, the family will get a rose.

Anderson has helped people as young as 25 years old to 85 years old.

Volunteering for hospice is truly a calling a person gets, Anderson believes, but anyone who is caring and compassionate can be a volunteer, she said.

Each volunteer is required to have 40 hours of training to learn how to deal with those who are grieving.

After that, they meet once a month for guest speakers, and to learn different aspects of the job including learning the different religious beliefs. “That is important,” Anderson said.

For more information about becoming a volunteer for hospice, contact ConnectCare at (800) 454-8616.

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