Hosparus was founded by volunteers some 40 years ago. At that time, most had full-time jobs as healthcare providers or clergy. Today, volunteers remain critical members of our care teams — but the skill sets we need have grown.

While we always need volunteers to provide companionship for patients and respite for families, we also need skilled and specialized volunteers to fill important needs.

Volunteers representing diverse cultures and religions are a high priority. Our community has a history of compassion and openness, and those attributes have increased the diversity of the patients we serve. While we educate our staff in various customs and have access to interpreters, there is no substitute for having someone on the patient and family care team with a common background.

Also, under Medicare rules, every patient must have access to a chaplain in the last seven days of life. Our community diversity means we need spiritual volunteers from a growing variety of faith traditions, including Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. All of these volunteers must be credentialed clergy or someone trained in spiritual direction.

The same holds true for armed services veterans. We have a growing number of veterans in our care. Those patients and families tell us that they appreciate a volunteer team member who can make an immediate connection and share that unique life experience.

Personal services professionals like licensed hair stylists and massage therapists are in great demand as volunteers. Patients and family members alike tell us how special it makes them feel when they are able to once again experience the personal grooming and stress relief activities that got pushed aside when the serious, chronic illness took center stage in their lives.

Registered nurses are another group of professionals who are needed to provide a much-needed service for our volunteers. Because all of our volunteers must take a TB test and receive a flu shot (unless inactive as a volunteer from Oct. 1 to April 1) we need RNs to help our staff administer these to our 600-plus volunteers each year. This volunteer service also helps retired RNs keep their certification current.

We are always looking for volunteers who are willing to share a bit of themselves and their time with a patient or family facing this very important and challenging time of life. And our volunteers will tell you that the time spent as a volunteer has it benefits.

Bob Langan, an applications architect at Humana, is also a licensed massage therapist who shares his skills at our Hosparus Inpatient Care Center. He says, “Volunteering energizes me. I feel honored to be welcomed into this sacred space in people’s lives and perhaps lessen some stress during this difficult time.”

If you want to be like Bob — or one of our other 600-plus volunteers — and put your passion into action, please contact me at 502-992-0747.