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Northern Montana Bear Paw Hospice Seeks Volunteers


July 11, 2018

Havre, Montana – Bear Paw Hospice is currently seeking new volunteers for their program.

Bear Paw Hospice was founded in October 1996 and is a part of the Northern Montana Health Care Organization. Over the last year Bear Paw Hospice has served an average of 9 patients per day. For Bear Paw Hospice, volunteers are a very important part of their program.

Hospice care focuses on caring, not curing. Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury; hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, emotional, and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes.

Volunteers play a big role in hospice care, especially for the Bear Paw Hospice team. Hospice organizations like Bear Paw Hospice need volunteers to provide a feeling of social support as well as to connect with patients on a deeper personal level.

Teri Richter, RN, Coordinator of Bear Paw Hospice shared, “Being a volunteer is rewarding as you become their friend and get to hear a patient’s life story or wisdom they have to share. It really changes your perspective on life and how you view the world.”

A volunteers’ role generally include; reading to patients, playing cards, and visiting. Volunteers can be alone with a patient for up to 2 hours to provide caregivers short breaks. Registered nurses take care of all the medical needs so volunteers can focus on being an emotional support to the patient and family. “Here at Bear Paw Hospice our volunteers focus on becoming a friend.” Adds Ms. Richter.

Volunteers undergo 16 hours of training which includes in-depth training on techniques like learning to listen with love; learning how to understand the spiritual needs of the hospice family, learning how to understand bereavement and learning to give without hurting themselves.

Eric Koch RN, VP of Patient Care Services at NMHC says, “The training these volunteers receive is above and beyond the training that our normal hospital volunteers receive. But the role is so important we’re hoping that the right type of people will consider joining our hospice team. It’s a great group of people providing a tremendous service to our community.”

Bear Paw Hospice will be hosting an event Monday July 9th at 6:00PM in Northern Montana Hospital conference rooms 3a, b and c. This event will offer information on Hospice Volunteering and will feature a presentation by Pat Floyd, a longtime Havre resident.


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