Earlier this month, the CHN Patient Services team conducted a Support Volunteer Training for Spanish-speaking volunteers. The training was held at Zufall Medical Center in Dover New Jersey. It covered a wide range of topics – from volunteer responsibilities and policies that highlight the importance of maintaining patient confidentiality and refraining from giving medical advice – to communication best practices and helpful hints for working with new matches.

IMG_20151201_163731CHN Support Volunteers speak more than 20 languages, offering many of the patients and caregivers who call the opportunity to speak to someone in their native tongue.

“Many people feel very alone when they receive a cancer diagnosis,” said CHN Patient Services Director Cynthia Gutierrez-Bernstein. “Adding a language barrier can increase that feeling of isolation. Many of the patients who call us communicate quite fluently in English, but the opportunity to use their primary language is a chance to express themselves more fully, to be comforted in a way that might not happen if matched with an English-speaking volunteer.”

For more information about becoming part of our multi-lingual group of Support Volunteers – or to be matched with a Support Volunteer – call 877-HOPENET.