Hospice of Michigan Seeks Patient Companions

Volunteers like Karen Funk vital in Atlanta, Hillman, Lachine and surrounding communities

ALPENA, Mich. (July 25, 2018) – Just a fraction of your time could mean the world to a Hospice of Michigan patient. The nonprofit hospice care provider needs volunteers to provide socialization and companionship to patients in Atlanta, Hillman, Lachine and surrounding communities. Patient companions provide relief to both patients and caregivers by visiting and engaging them in light activities like playing cards, listening to music, reading aloud or simply having conversations.

Hillman’s Karen Funk began volunteering with Hospice of Michigan in 2012, and has been visiting patients ever since. She was inspired to donate her time as a patient companion after hearing how her pastor helped people as a hospice chaplain. Funk began thinking about the time she spent caring for her mother before she passed, and what she could do to help bring comfort to others. When approached to become a volunteer, these experiences motivated her to give it a try – and six years later, she hasn’t looked back.

Funk currently visits patients in Montmorency County. She believes volunteering with hospice is a wonderful way to directly help others and give back to her community. “I have visited with patients who cannot communicate in complete sentences, patients who talked more than I ever could, patients who had recently lost a loved one and patients very close to the end of life,” Karen remarked. But despite the circumstances that connect her with patients, Funk tries to remain calm and grounded. “I am no one special; I try to put myself in their position and do for them what I would like someone to do for me if I were in their place.”

All hospice volunteers receive training, Those interested in volunteering or scheduling a specific training time should contact Kathy Lietaert, volunteer program manager, at 231.779.5409 or klietaer@HOM.ORG. More information is also available at www.hom.org.

About Hospice of Michigan
A nationally recognized leader in end-of-life care, Hospice of Michigan (HOM) is the original – and largest – hospice in the state. A founding member of the NorthStar Care Community, the nonprofit delivers the highest quality of care, raising more than $5 million each year to cover costs for the uninsured and underinsured. HOM offers a broad range of services to enhance the quality of life at the end of life. HOM also provides grief support and counseling, as well as caregiver education and support. A member of the NorthStar Care Community, HOM also provides palliative care through NorthStar Palliative Care, pediatric hospice care and compassionate support services through Jo Elyn Nyman Anchors Programs for Children, and education programs for physicians and health care professionals through the NorthStar Institute. The NorthStar Care Community also includes Arbor Hospice. In total, NorthStar Care Community members serve nearly 6,500 patients annually across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. For more information, call 888.247.5701.