Volunteers provide companionship to people living with a serious illness and help their family caregivers in a variety of ways. Hospice relies on volunteers to help with office work, fundraising and community outreach.
We Need Your Help
Volunteers receive training to ensure they feel comfortable with their tasks. Training programs generally cover the following areas:
- Philosophy of hospice care
- A comprehensive overview of services offered by hospice
- Physical, emotional, social and spiritual issues that people can encounter at the end-of-life
- Individual needs, including emotional support, emergency procedures, universal precautions and procedures to follow after the hospice patient dies
- An overview of chronic and life-limiting illnesses
- Effective communication skills for speaking with the patient and family members
- Information about interpersonal family issues and relationships
- Boundaries for the volunteer, patient and family
- Basic information about grief and loss
Hospice Volunteers Serve in Many Ways
As a volunteer you will be given options regarding how much time you can commit and what types of things you want to do.
You may choose to work in the patient’s home or in the hospice house. Examples of typical volunteer duties include:
- Support for patients. This can be visiting, reading, taking walks, writing letters, bringing in music, listening to a patient’s concerns and even sitting quietly with a patient.
- Respite and support for family members. Volunteers can assist with shopping or housekeeping activities, or allow family caregivers the opportunity to take care of necessary errands or simply have some time away. Family members also appreciate a visit from someone who cares about what they are going through.
As a volunteer, you may choose to give your time working in the hospice office. Examples of these duties include:
- Helping in the office. You may help with simple administrative duties such as answering the phone, greeting visitors, taking care of the mail and making copies.
- Fundraising. These responsibilities can range from organizing or assisting with fundraising events to contacting potential donors about contributing funds to GHS Hospice of the Foothills.
Who Can Volunteer?
Each hospice program has its own policy regarding volunteer eligibility. Emotional maturity plays an important role in determining whether or not a person is ready to be placed in an environment that can be tense and emotional. A volunteer should be comfortable talking about death and dying and be able to approach these conversations in an open, direct and practical way. Most importantly, a volunteer must be committed and dedicated to their work with hospice.
How Do I Become a Volunteer?
An interview is the first step. You will meet with the volunteer coordinator. He or she will want to know the following:
- Why you want to be a volunteer.
- Your interests. Finding a good match between volunteers and patients is important.
- What times you are available.
- Your experience with end-of-life. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, you may be asked to wait a while before volunteering.
The volunteer coordinator will ask you to complete an application form and may also request you provide a current resume and references. You will also be asked to undergo a background check. To ensure volunteers are equipped for the challenge of working with those at the end-of-life, hospice requires extensive orientation and training sessions. It’s important that volunteers understand the history of hospice and are aware of the specific ways hospice works to serve the community. After you complete the training required by the hospice program, you will be ready for your volunteer work to begin.
To learn more about hospice and how to become a volunteer, please contact Connie McCann at (864) 882-8940 or by email at CMcCann2@ghs.org.