Business engagement, volunteerism vital to hospice mission

Hospice of the Western Reserve has been a member of the Northern Ohio community for almost 40 years.

As a nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to serving the needs of local residents, we are part of the fabric of the community. It is critical that we remain agile, so we can respond to changing needs and service gaps in our community.

Our engagement with local businesses and partnerships with area health care and academic institutions makes that possible.

Volunteers are central to our ability to deliver the most comprehensive range of services and highest standards of care in the community. Business volunteers provide leadership by serving on our board of directors, on one of our many advisory councils or through dedicated “days of service.”

We’re grateful to the many corporations, businesses and community groups that have contributed days of service for several years. Opportunities for group projects are available at several locations. Groups complete a brief orientation and then work with staff members to complete pre-assigned projects.

Examples include cleaning furniture, replacing ceiling tiles, painting, hedge trimming, washing windows and assembling mailing packets. We are always looking for new ideas and skills, so suggestions are welcome.

Some professionals provide specialized volunteer services to patients utilizing their licensed skills, such as attorneys, hairstylists, massotherapists and notaries. Volunteers who have served in the Armed Forces are frequently interested in serving fellow veterans.

They provide supportive visits, listen to and share military stories and participate in both private and public ceremonies honoring veterans for their service.

Community organizations and faith-based institutions prepare and serve pasta dinners, bake cookies for our families, perform concerts, make blankets for patients with memory impairment, help at our warehouse sales and assist at Walk to Remember, our annual fundraising event.

Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteers come from all walks of life and range in age from teens to senior citizens. Their value cannot be overstated. They bring incredible dedication to their service. Many were inspired to join our team following the death of a family member. They understand firsthand the value of hospice care, so they are frequently our most passionate ambassadors.

Individuals from the community who attend one of our volunteer education sessions participate in numerous ways, limited only by their imaginations. They provide companionship in the final months and weeks of life, offer respite to family members caring for loved ones, and provide support with local outreach efforts, fundraising and administrative tasks.

Last year alone, our volunteers worked more than 90,000 hours, equating to $1.9 million of donated service. Approximately 1,000 paid staff and 3,000 volunteer staff work together to support our mission of delivering ideal patient care.

Whether contributing on behalf of their business or as an individual citizen motivated by a deep desire to give back and help other families, all of our volunteers play significant roles in serving the local community. We are deeply grateful for their support of our mission.

William E. Finn is CEO at Hospice of the Western Reserve