Volunteers are the heart of our organization and support is provided through visitation and companionship while at home, Kelowna General Hospital, residential care facilities and the Central Okanagan Hospice House. Often our volunteers provide the last hand held, the compassionate hug given, and the kind words spoken. COHA’s volunteers are dedicated to providing psychosocial support to individuals and their families through the Central Okanagan from Peachland to Oyama.
COHA works in partnership with Interior Health’s Hospice Palliative Care Program to provide individuals living with a terminal illness and their loved ones support with compassion and sensitivity to their unique needs. We meet these needs thanks to the dedication of our many trained volunteers.
Social support is provided to palliative patients while at home, in Kelowna General Hospital, in residential care facilities and at the Central Okanagan Hospice House. Our Direct Service Volunteers sit with clients, assist with mealtimes, and provide respite for caregivers.
Direct Service volunteers are required to complete 40 hours of training prior to providing support to clients and their loved ones. Potential volunteers are screened through interviews, references, and criminal record searches prior to training.
Some of the Direct Service Volunteer Programs offered are:
Bedside volunteers provide emotional and practical support to palliative clients and their loved ones, always keeping the client as the first priority while abiding by the philosophy of Hospice Palliative Care. Volunteers provide companioning support while respecting the client as a unique individual and honoring the sacredness of life. They meet the client where they are at, whether that is by going for a walk, playing bridge, or sitting in silence.
Vigil volunteers are available around the clock to sit at the bedside as a caring presence in the final days and hours of a person’s life. Vigil volunteers offer comfort, companionship, information and guidance. They may sit in silent reflection, play soft music, and provide a gentle touch of comfort or a listening ear for individuals or loved ones who may wish to share their thoughts and feelings.
Complimentary Care Programs:
Reiki (pronounces Ray-Key) is a Japanese holistic, energy-based modality. It is believed that through a series of hand positions either directly on or just above the body, the volunteer practitioner can allow a flow of energy through their body. The client’s body then draws off an amount of energy that is required to re-establishes a normal energy flow. This in turn, can enhance and accelerate the body's own healing ability. Reiki is available at Hospice House and in the community. It is also available for Bereavement clients.
Therapeutic Touch is an energy based approach to health and healing. It uses touch to influence the body’s energy system: using non-invasive hand movements, the practitioner works to clear, energize and balance the body’s energy field. In so doing, the practitioner can affect physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and healing. Therapeutic Touch volunteers are available at Hospice House.
HeArt Cart volunteers bring the creative process to hospice patients and families and allow them to experiment with and use art as a mechanism for relaxation, expression and creativity. Through this process to provide support for relaxation, self-expression and to leave lasting memories and a tangible legacy of the experience. HeArt Cart volunteers are available at Hospice House.
Pet Visitation is the successful program of pets visiting people. Patients of all types of medical conditions have enjoyed benefits from the company of a cuddly animal. Pet visitation by volunteers gives pet owners an opportunity to share the love their animal offers to comfort others. A simple visit from a loveable animal can go a long way in uplifting one's spirit. Pets visit Hospice House on Wednesday afternoons.