The duties of a family caregiver volunteer are critical to the entire service of Hospice, said Bill Pfohl, communications officer. Hospice operates with an interdisciplinary team comprised of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and volunteers.
"If Margo comes across something, she can help that [interdisciplinary] team help that family," he said. "A patient may be more open with her than a nurse or doctor."
Volunteers typically build a relationship with the person or family members they are helping, whereas a nurse will come in to provide a medical treatment, then move on to the next patient. They're not always with someone long enough to learn about a potential problem, such as a family situation, that a volunteer might find out through conversation. That's when a social worker might become involved.
"When people think about Hospice, they think about the great services for patients," Pfohl said. "Yes, definitely. But what they don't see is behind the doors is this team of people."
Baldwinsville resident Elaine Braun knows first-hand about hospice care when her grandmother was dying. Additionally, she and her husband were looking into using its services again for her father-in-law.
"They are the most wonderful group of caring people and are ready to meet your family's needs," Braun said. "They're very organized, efficient and help reduce the stress level involved with such difficult and emotional decisions."
Hospice services are available through Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance plans. No one is ever turned away for inability to pay. A physician referral is required but inquiries about hospice care may be made by anyone - the patient, family or friend. If you would like to learn more about Hospice of CNY, call 634-1100 or visit hospicecny.org.