Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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April 15, 2005

Oswego County Hospice Recognizes Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

During National Volunteer Week, April 18 through 24, Oswego County Hospice will recognize the dedicated services provided by its volunteers at an appreciation luncheon. The newest members of the hospice training class will get a chance to meet experienced volunteers and participate in a national teleconference sponsored by Hospice Foundation of America on Wednesday, April 20.

"Hospice care offers a very special kind of care for terminally ill persons and their families and is one of the fastest-growing health care services in the United States," said Kathleen Smith, Oswego County Commissioner of Health Services.

The Oswego County Health Department has offered a hospice care program since 1989.

Hospice is considered to be a model for quality, compassionate care at the end of life. It involves a team-oriented approach of expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to the patient's and family's wishes. Generally, this care is provided in the patient's home or in a home-like setting. The hospice care team addresses the symptoms of the terminal illness, with the aim of promoting comfort and dignity.

"The ability of Oswego County Hospice to bring dignity and quality to the lives of hospice patients is due in large part to our hardworking volunteers," said Michelle Dowd, Volunteer Coordinator. "We applaud and thank each one of our volunteers for the wealth of time and compassion they give to the entire community.

"Simply put, hospice volunteers are there to take care of whatever needs to be done. They are there to hold a hand and listen, take a patient to a favorite place in the park, run an errand, or walk the dog. They are there to step in when a family member needs a break from caring for a loved one. And they are there for the family and friends after their loved one has passed away."

Nationally, more than 150,000 hospice workers are volunteers. Last year these volunteers gave over 16 million hours of their time to serve people living with a life limiting illness and their families. Locally, 37 persons donated over 1,800 hours of their time to serve Oswego County Hospice patients during the last year.

"National Volunteer Week is a perfect time to show the outstanding volunteers in our community our immense appreciation and gratitude," Dowd added. "As volunteer coordinator it would be impossible for me to recognize just one person. Each volunteer that I have had the great privilege and honor to work with brings a unique talent, life experience and contribution to our program. I commend each and every one of these extraordinary individuals. They are a remarkable group who continue to give their time, effort, sincerity and love year after year. It is people like these who truly make our community a better place to live."

For information on becoming a hospice volunteer, call Oswego County Hospice at 349-8259 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 8259.

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