Being there is all the difference

January 7, 2022

Help make a difference in the lives of your “neighbors” during one of the toughest times for a family. The Home Care/Hospice Department at Mille Lacs Health System is looking for volunteers.

Rene Wagner, MLHS Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, explains, “Volunteers will make a difference in someone’s life just by being present. A hospice volunteer isn’t all about death and dying. It is about helping those who are dying to live their lives as fully as possible, as long as they can, and helping to support their loved ones and caregivers along the way.”

Volunteers often spend time visiting, reading, listening to music, playing cards or games, helping with light chores, taking a walk, writing letters, or just sharing a cup of coffee. The main goal is company for the client and to give the caregiver a little time away.

Volunteer hours can vary from two hours to eight hours per week depending on the number of clients, and the time the volunteer has available.

MLHS has offered volunteers exclusively for Hospice patients in the past but is looking to expand to Home Care families as well, as many of these clients would enjoy some extra company too.

Volunteers are background-checked, health/drug tested, and provided with the required education to be a part of the program. COVID vaccines also required.

Joanie Ellingson, of Onamia, has been a part of the Hospice volunteer program at MLHS since 2005. Ellingson says, “It’s more than fulfilling, it speaks to the heart and soul.” More and more families are choosing the option to have their loved ones at home for their end of life. “It feels good to be there showing kindness and respect for others during their tough times. I don’t do it for me, I do it for them, but I sure get a lot out of it too,” said Ellingson.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Hospice/Home Care volunteer program at Mille Lacs Health System, reach out to Rene Wagner at 320-532-2800, and then option 4.