View: We are Tidewell Volunteers
We know the value of volunteers. Throughout the four counties that Tidewell serves — Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto — more than 1,100 volunteers are active in countless programs that benefit our patients and families. Whether it's running errands, delivering meals or sitting vigil with a patient, volunteers are deeply involved in the team approach that is Tidewell's community of caring. No task is too small or without impact.
According to a National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization report, an estimated four-fifths of the people involved in hospice care in the U.S. today are volunteers, providing more than five-million hours of service annually. In fact, the important role of volunteers is built into Medicare's regulations, which require that hospices use volunteers at a level that equals at least five-percent of the total patient care hours delivered by all paid staff.
The Points of Light Foundation estimates volunteer hours to be worth $20.25. For Tidewell, which recorded 94,474 hours of volunteer service during 2010, this means nearly $1.7-million in service to benefit patients and their loved ones.
In human terms, however, the value of Tidewell volunteers is beyond measure. They bring support, joy, levity and companionship through our Complementary Services programs such as pet therapy, clown circle, therapeutic touch and much more. Tidewell volunteers also provide an all-important community connection for patients and families - a connection that can often be lost when both patient and family become focused inward in dealing with illness.
And what do Tidewell volunteers receive in return? The value is inestimable.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." In giving, we receive.
This "beautiful compensation" is borne out again and again, and not just for individual volunteers, but for community groups, congregations, school classes and families - any group or individual that commits to volunteer. By helping Tidewell, volunteers receive the beautiful compensation of knowing they have enhanced the life experience of another and strengthened the fabric of their community.
Volunteers receive an orientation to Tidewell during an extensive training course. Tidewell recommends that prospective volunteers wait approximately one year after the death of a loved one before volunteering to work with patients. However, we recognize that each circumstance is different.
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