End-of-life care is a need that isn’t always being met in Wyoming County. Steps to rectify that began on Thursday.
Hospice of Southern West Virginia conducted a meeting on Thursday at Cook Memorial Baptist Church in Pineville to provide residents with an overview of hospice and the need for volunteer workers.
Eighteen people showed up for hospice volunteer training.
“What motivated me to get involved was finding out that there are people in Wyoming County who are in dire need of somebody who can go to the grocery store for them and other every day needs,” said Terri Muscari, a member of HSWV’s board of directors. “Some people don’t have any family who live in state.
“What I want to see,” she added, “is Wyoming County taking care of Wyoming Countians.”
Prior to Thursday, HSWV had volunteers from every county in the the four-county area it serves except Wyoming.
Volunteers provide assistance both at the Bowers Hospice House in Beckley and in the homes of patients.
“Volunteers provide companionship,” said Beckley Lilly, volunteer coordinator for HSWV. “They read and sing to patients.”
Lillys says hospice treats “physical, emotional and spiritual needs.”
In addition to the volunteers who do every day errands for patients, there chaplain volunteers. Grief and bereavement counseling are available to those who have lost a loved one.
Medical care is provided also. “We treat the symptoms,” Lilly remarked. “One of the biggest misconceptions about hospice care is that we over medicate. We only treat the symptoms, not the disease. We try to make the patients as comfortable as possible.
“A lot of people think we only serve people at the very end of life,” said Lilly. “But we have had patients who received our service for four or five years.”
Through the training, she stated, “I hope we we’ll have a better knowledge of hospice in the area and make connections with more people.”
One of the keys to good care is “matching up the right person to the right patient,” Lilly observed. “Sometimes peoples’ personaliteis just don’t mesh.”
“I’m excited that we got 18 people here today willing to give of their time,” state Muscari.
Those who showed up ranged from 90-year old Estes Nichols to high school students.
Teens who volunteer can get community service hours, Muscari pointed out.
Anyone interested in being a hospice volunteer can contact Lilly at 304-255-6404.