Published on August 11, 2014

Genesis Seeks Befriender Volunteers

Genesis Health System will begin Befriender training on Oct. 7.

Befrienders are a select community of caregivers who are trained to listen to patient stories and concerns. 

Hospitalization can be a difficult time with a patient feeling alone, afraid and pondering changes in one’s health and life.  A Befriender is there to compassionately listen and provide supportive, spiritual ministry without imposing personal religious beliefs on patients.

Classes will begin Tuesday, Oct. 7 and run through Dec. 9.  There will be a short break for the holiday season.  Classes will then resume on Tuesday, Jan. 13 through Feb. 24.  Befrienders will be commissioned in May 2015. 

Befriender classes will be held mainly at Genesis East Campus.
Befriender volunteers go through approximately 40 hours of training, emphasizing listening with particular sensitivity to the stories of grief, illness, crisis and life review.  When the training is complete, the volunteers may visit patients and their families in the hospital, or work in the Grief Recovery Group.

The Genesis Spiritual Care department has been training Befrienders for 47 years.  The program is an integral part of the Genesis vision of treating the whole person, including body, mind and spirit.  Referrals for a Befriender visit often come from nurses, doctors and the patients themselves.

An informational meeting to further explain the program will be held Tuesday, Aug. 19 from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Interconnect Lounge at Medical Office Building I.  Parking is available in the Genesis Heart Institute Parking Ramp.

If you are interested in this type of volunteer service, call Patty Tillman, Befriender Program coordinator, at (563) 421-7972.  An application and interview are part of the admission process.  

Deadline for Befriender training applications is Tuesday, Sept. 9.

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