We Need Your Help
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. 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.
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.
Volunteer With Us
Get Started Now
An interview with a volunteer coordinator is your first step. 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.
- When 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.
You will complete an application form and may also be asked to provide a current resume with references. You will also 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, you will be ready for your volunteer work to begin.