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Volunteers needed to assist homebound patients

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Community Nursing Service needs volunteers to assist homebound, recovering hospital and terminally ill patients by lending support and helping the families with household tasks.

Community Nursing Service is a home health agency that provides hospice services as well as nursing, occupational therapy and medical social work. Two specialty programs of Community Nursing Services are a hospice program for terminally ill children called Kaleidoscope Kids and a specialized adult program for terminally ill adults.Medical social workers, nurses and home health aides visit these patients in their homes and help with their needs.

Individuals are needed to help with recovering homebound patients and those who are terminally ill. Volunteers give support to families and patients, run errands for the families, help the patients go through their mail, read the paper to them and give the family members a break from regular activities.

"Volunteers are important for Community Nursing Service because they help relieve family members for a short time. And the patients like the outside support of knowing someone is there for them," said Kari Coons, assistant branch manager. "Volunteers have done a remarkable job and both the volunteers and patients have found the experience very rewarding."

Volunteers are asked to make a six-month commitment and to participate in an evening training session once a week for two to six weeks. Training hours for volunteers are flexible.

Other volunteer opportunities are available throughout Utah County. Some of these are listed below.

- Participate in statewide service activities. The governor has declared July 18 as "Take Pride in Utah Day" and is encouraging citizens to organize groups to help make Utah a more beautiful place. Individuals can join neighborhood groups, already established service groups, groups of a common religious affiliation, or simply organize a group of friends to participate in a rewarding service project.

There are many ways for local groups to share their time and talents to improve the community. Groups can help beautify their neighborhood, clean up a school parking lot or local park, make repairs on a neighbor's home, or participate in countless other projects. Groups can contact the local Parks and Recreation departments or the Forest Service for trail maintenance or clean-up projects.

- Aid victims of violent crime. Volunteers are needed to help with various activities in local Victim's Assistance Programs throughout Utah County. Individuals or groups are needed to help with victim's assessment group activities in a juvenile detention center. Volunteers interested in media or public relations can help organize and assist programs for school presentations.

Individuals are also needed to help with office work, computer entry and to occasionally accompany victims to court.

Hours for volunteers are flexible, but it is necessary that they be consistent. A background check is required and volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. Training is provided for those interested in volunteering.

For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities in Utah County, contact the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit the United Way of Utah County Web site at (www.unitedwayuc.org).