Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke and Fannin Counties will be offering its five-part Patient and Family Support training course for volunteer companions beginning this month. The sessions are from 1 -4 p.m. on Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 3, March 10 and March 17 at the Home Hospice office, 505 W. Center St. in Sherman.

Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke and Fannin Counties will be offering its five-part Patient and Family Support training course for volunteer companions beginning this month. The sessions are from 1 -4 p.m. on Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 3, March 10 and March 17 at the Home Hospice office, 505 W. Center St. in Sherman.


Volunteers serve as companions to the hospice patients and support for the families. They go into the patients’ homes and act much like a good friend or neighbor would - sitting with the patients, giving family members a break, reading and or talking with the patients, offering encouragement and other small but meaningful tasks.


The training is free and open to anyone who interested in being a patient volunteer. Training participants will become familiar with the Home Hospice team concept, philosophy and approach to end-of-life issues. They will also meet some of the nurses, chaplains and social workers, as well as gain an understanding of the volunteer’s role.


Suzanne King’s father was a hospice patient several years before she became a volunteer.


"It’s an awesome program and very worthwhile for the volunteer," says King. "There are so many patients who may not have a large family. Some of them are lonely and simply need a companion. When I went through the training, I realized that many of the volunteers for Home Hospice have had a family member that was cared for by Home Hospice and I learned that there are people of all ages and all walks of life that were interested in volunteering. There are so many ways to volunteer and the trainings were so uplifting. It was very beneficial."


In addition to the volunteer companions, home hospice is in need of veterans to volunteer to sit with fellow veterans who are on home hospice service. In the Vet-to-Vet program, volunteers are required to complete the Patient and Family Support training plus an additional training session designed specifically for veteran volunteers. This additional training will take place April 3 from 1 -4 p.m. at the Sherman Home Hospice office. Registration for the Vet-to-Vet program is requested by March 27.


David Carroll, a Vet-to-Vet volunteer, says, "I was in combat in North Korea, so I have a little bit in common with other veterans. We can shoot the breeze. I think that local veterans might like to have someone to talk to that might understand. I just want to give back."


The training programs are free. Volunteers for these programs are asked to be a minimum of one year out from any loss experience of an immediate family member or loved one. To register or for more information, contact Barb Samuelson, Home Hospice volunteer coordinator, at 903-868-9315 or send her an email to barb.samuelson@homehospice.org.


To learn about other volunteer opportunities with Home Hospice, go to www.homehospice.org.