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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / CAMARILLO

Hospice 'Desperately' in Need of Volunteers

January 20, 1998|DAWN HOBBS

While the Camarillo Hospice is gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary, it is also finding itself short on volunteers.

"We need volunteers desperately," said Michalyn Simpson, hospice volunteer coordinator. "We're having to turn away three to four families a month because we do not have enough volunteers."

The hospice, which opened in 1978, provides in-home support to those with life-threatening illnesses and to their families, but does not deal with hands-on nursing.

Hospice services are provided primarily by trained volunteers who are supervised by a professional staff.

The next volunteer training course runs for six Tuesdays from Feb. 3 through March 10, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital, 2309 Antonio Ave., in Camarillo.

Volunteers will learn about the history, philosophy and characteristics of hospice care. Family dynamics in crisis situations, communication skills, cancer treatment and the hospice concept of pain and symptom management will also be covered.

After training, the volunteers will spend between two and four hours a week with a family, providing respite care, counseling or running errands.

Meanwhile, the hospice will be celebrating 20 years of service Jan. 26.

Dr. William Lamers Jr., one of the founders of the hospice movement in the United States, will be the keynote speaker at the meeting scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Marquie Dinner Theatre, 340 Mobil Ave., in Camarillo.

Lamers will discuss the necessity of demanding better health care for those facing the end of their lives, including how to improve physician training and provide services that address the social, psychological and spiritual needs of patients and their families.

Seating is limited and reservations must be made by calling 389-5898.

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