Volunteers are needed for the hospice program

Elias C. Ahumada, Reporter

Hoffman Hospice is currently seeking volunteers for its quality end-of-life care for current patients.

Since Hoffman Hospice is part of the We Honor Vets Program in the state of California, Brenda Nakanishi, volunteer coordinator, said although all volunteers are welcomed, she prefers to match veteran volunteers with veteran patients.

“I try and place a veteran with a veteran patient because if you have seen war, or battle, you might share some of those stories as a veteran with another veteran,” she said. “But you won’t share them with your family because you don’t want your family to really know what you’ve been through. So, I like to connect the veterans with the veterans.”

Founded in 1995, the Hoffman Hospice center has served the Kern County community for 19 years. Hoffman Hospice is a non-profit organization and is the only four-star rated hospice center in all of California. Hoffman Hospice offers hundred of patients quality end-of-life care.

“That’s pretty impressive, I think,” she said, explaining her excitement that the hospice was the only four-star rated hospice in California.

“Hospice is end-of-life care, someone would need to be within six months of passing and end-of-life,” Nakanishi said. “When [patients] decide to come on to a hospice service they’ve decided that they don’t want any more life-saving measures.”

“There’s a team of people that take care of each patient,” Nakanishi said. “Each patient has about 17 members. It includes a registered nurse, LVN, home health aide, person who gives the bath, changes the sheets and things like that, a spiritual counselor, which is a chaplain, a social worker, and a volunteer, if they are requested.”

Nakanishi explained that patients are divided up into zip codes because they cover all of Kern County to include Delano, Lake Isabella, and a team in Lancaster, although all operations are run out of the Bakersfield branch.

As far as the volunteer program goes, Nakanishi said Hoffman Hospice has 79 volunteers at the moment.

“The volunteers will go out and visit the patients, and they will give care giver relief,” she said. “I will try to keep my volunteers working in their own zip code.”

Nakanishi offers classes for future volunteers for the veteran and other services. The next available classes begin April 14 at Hoffman Hospice in Bakersfield.

She encourages anyone who would like to volunteer to contact her at (661) 410-1010.