ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization salutes the estimated 468,000 trained hospice volunteers that provide more than 22 million hours of service every year to our nation's hospice programs.
National Volunteer Week is April 10 through 16 and those dedicated individuals offering support, companionship and hope to those facing a life-limiting illness deserve special recognition for the difference they make in America.
"Hospice volunteers play an indispensable role in enabling hospice and palliative care organizations to offer the best care possible for patients living with life-limiting illness, their families and caregivers," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. "By sharing their time, energy, and expertise, volunteers bring compassion and caring to the lives of those in need."
It is federally mandated under Medicare that five percent of all patient care hours be provided by trained volunteers. This regulation reflects the vital role that volunteers play in the hospice philosophy of care and ensures that a hospice program has roots deep in the community.
A special group of volunteers were honored on April 9 at NHPCO's 26th annual Management and Leadership Conference at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The dedicated volunteers of the hospice program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola were honored – despite the most difficult of circumstances – for their commitment to caring for those in their community with compassion, dignity and respect.
On behalf of the men working with the hospice program at Angola, Nancy Dunn, education director of the Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, presented the "Seasons of Caring" quilt created by hospice volunteers at Angola to the nation's hospice and palliative care community.
LMHPCO has been a supporter of the Angola hospice program that has grown into a national model of care for the dying in corrections facilities.
Upon accepting the quilt, Schumacher remarked, "The care provided by the men at Angola reminds us all of the powerful gift that hospice volunteers make – and this quilt, that will hang in the National Center for Care at the End of Life, will be a tangible symbol of the hope integral to hospice."
NHPCO issued a proclamation honoring volunteers, available at NHPCO's website, www.nhpco.org.
NHPCO, Vice President of Communications
SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization