‘In your community, making a difference’: Local hospice program navigating care with your help

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:08 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Volunteer applications are open at Bluegrass Care Navigators as workers ask people in the Big Sandy region to give of their time.

Bluegrass Hospice Care representatives said the program needs more volunteers to better serve its patients since the number of helpers has decreased since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“You really can’t put a price tag on how valuable our volunteers are to our organization, to our patients,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Alison Casebolt. "

Casebolt said the days of in-person patient interaction for volunteers have been put on hold to follow all CDC guidelines, but there are options for everyone through the “Compassion from a Distance” initiative set up by the provider.

“It’s just a way to say we’re still thinking about our patients and our volunteers are still involved with us and still active within the hospice organization,” said Casebolt.

From placing gift bags on front porches to checking in on Zoom calls or performing musical numbers for patients, Casebolt said there is always a way someone can incorporate their strengths into giving back.

“Anywhere you are, we can make sure that you help and reach out. You can volunteer right at home in your county, in your community, making a difference,” Casebolt said.

Those who volunteer are doing more than they know. Their time is not only forming bonds, it is crucial in keeping the program moving. According to Casebolt, maintaining a specific number of volunteer hours is imperative for Bluegrass Care Navigators to continue serving its patients for free.

“We have to match five percent of our staff hours with volunteer hours in order for us to stay compliant and in order for most of our patients to get free care from us,” said Casebolt.

Hospice programs in Pike, Floyd, and Magoffin counties are the most in need of volunteers and those interested in lending a hand can find more information here.

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