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Barton Hospice relies on volunteers

by Jo Rafferty

Two types of volunteers are what keep the Barton Hospice of the Lake/Valley in business – the business of helping others through what could be one of the most difficult times in their lives, dealing with death.

Volunteers at the thrift store and the hospice, across the street from each other near the silos in Minden, play important roles in keeping the organization alive, according to John Grady, who has been the patient care volunteer coordinator since the hospice began nine years ago.



“We refer to them as the heart of the hospice,” said Grady, of the volunteers. “They all make a difference in people’s lives.”

“They’re amazing,” said Cheryl Wright, Barton Hospice Thrift Store manager for four years.



Grady works with patient care volunteers who go through extensive training before they can become volunteers.

“Patient care volunteers work with the team, of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and other disciplines,” said Grady. “There are 24 hours of training required and medical and background checks because they go into the homes to provide practical and emotional support for the patients and families.”

Caring for the patient can include helping them through pain associated with their illness, according to Grady.

“We go in and care for the patient offering aggressive pain control, aggressive symptom control,” said Grady.

After the family member dies, bereavement volunteers visit the families for a year and grief support groups are offered as well. Funds are available for hospice services in cases where the family has no health insurance.

“The thrift store is a fundraiser for that,” said Wright.

“It gives valuable support for the hospice,” said Grady, who explained how each donation of clothing and items has to be cleaned and made ready for sale.

“They process the generous donations for the community,” said Grady.

“It’s like getting ready for a yard sale, everyday,” said Wright, “but its for a really good cause. Everyone’s going to get old, pretty much. It’s going to happen to almost everybody.”

The thrift store has about 15 volunteers and the hospice has around 18.

“They are making a difference in their own community,” said Grady, adding that many of them have needed the hospice’s services in the past.

“They’re grateful for what they received in their time of need,” said Grady.

Anyone interested in becoming a patient care volunteer can attend training on Tuesdays starting March 7 through April. For information on patient care volunteering, call John Grady at 783-3076. For information on volunteering at Barton Hospice Thrift Store, call Cheryl or Peggy at 783-3533.

Barton Hospice is located at 1650 Highway 395, Suite C, in Minden. The thrift store is located at 1609 Highway 395. The thrift store is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and is closed on Sundays.

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at jrafferty@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 210.