ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, 2016, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and its affiliate organizations are honoring the hospice and palliative care volunteers who bring compassion, support and dignity to those facing a serious, life-limiting illness.
NHPCO reports that in the U.S., an estimated 430,000 hospice volunteers provide more than 19 million hours of service to hospice programs every year.
"I cannot stress enough that hospice is about helping people live as fully as possible – in spite of a life-limiting illness," said actress and hospice advocate Torrey DeVitto.
DeVitto is currently starring in the NBC series "ChicagoMED" and is NHPCO's first official hospice ambassador.
"There are some wonderful videos, stories and photos available on the website for Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice. If you really want to see hospice in action, I encourage you to visit this wonderful website that my friends at NHPCO have created," added DeVitto who is a hospice volunteer herself.
Hospice volunteers bring companionship to people in the final months and weeks of life, often a time when people find themselves cut off from the community, isolated and alone. They bring respite to family caregivers who are caring for dying loved ones and struggling with their own grief and loss. They provide valuable support with local outreach efforts, fundraising events and administrative tasks.
"We are grateful to our volunteers every day of the year but National Volunteer Week is a time when we can celebrate all they do and remind everyone that hospice and palliative care volunteers are special people who give deeply from their hearts," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.
An estimated 1.6 million people coping with a life-limiting illness are cared for by hospice every year.
Silverado Los Angeles Hospice volunteer Mercedes Ibarra shares her story on why volunteering for hospice is so important in this video that is part of NHPCO's engagement initiative, Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice.
"I like knowing that families feel that there is someone there to support them and their loved one," says Ibarra.
It is federally mandated, under Medicare, that five percent of all patient care hours be provided by trained volunteers. This requirement underscores the important role that hospice volunteers play in caring for the dying and their family caregivers.
Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications
NHPCO is the oldest and largest nonprofit leadership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. NHPCO's mission is to lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end of life.
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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization