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2010-12-07 10:20:41
Jamaica Hospital Launches Innovative Volunteer Program to Support End of Life Care- Seeking Voluntee
Contact Information:
Ruth Richman
(718) 240-5345

February 20, 2008 (Jamaica, NY)-- In an effort to help ease the hospital experience and increase quality of life at the end of life, the Department of Volunteer Services at Jamaica Hospital, in conjunction with the Palliative Care Consultation Service, is seeking volunteers for its new initiative titled, “The CARE-ing Doula Program.” The Comfort, Advocacy, and Respect at End of Life Palliative Care Program uses trained volunteers to provide identified patients and their family, caregiver, or significant other with companionship, comfort, advocacy and education at the end of life.

Often referred to as comfort care, Palliative Care provides relief to terminally ill individuals through symptom and pain management. It is a team-oriented approach that focuses on the quality of a person’s life--their emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs-- as well as the alleviation of distressing symptoms. Palliative Care also provides bereavement care and support to surviving family and caregivers. Palliative Care, unlike Hospice Care, does not exclude any therapies or specific treatments.

“The program supports the purpose of Jamaica’s Palliative Care service, which is to provide care and support at the time of a life threatening diagnosis, as well as, to educate patients and families about the options they have in making choices and decisions in regards to their personal care and medical treatment,” said Arlene Martin, Director of Volunteer Services.

Patients who are determined to have a life expectancy of less than 1 year and/or are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness will qualify for “The CARE-ing Doula Program.”

Under the program guidelines, the designated patients and their family, caregiver or significant other, will be visited by a CARE-ing doula volunteer. Through visitation and personal contact, the volunteer will provide companionship in a culturally sensitive, nonjudgmental manner during the patient’s hospital stay at life’s end.

“The CARE-ing Doula Program” originally began at the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, a member of the MediSys Health Network, through a grant from the United Hospital Fund and the Shira Ruskay Center, a division of the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services. The program has been very successful and the implementation of the program at Jamaica Hospital should yield similar outcomes.

Training for “The CARE-ing DOULA Program" requires that volunteers participate in a 20-hour training course. For further information about volunteering for “The CARE-ing Doula Program,” contact Arlene Martin, Director of Volunteer Services, at (718)206-6000 x4078.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Centerserves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. This 387-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric, and dental services, in addition to home health services. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.
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