Hospice volunteers make a difference.
Volunteers are an integral part of the hospice team, filling roles that range from direct contact with patients to providing clerical support for the organization. Hospices that participate with Medicare are required to utilize volunteers alongside their paid clinical and administrative staff. Hospice volunteers describe their work as gratifying, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally meaningful. Hospices require a lot from their volunteers and value them greatly. Every HOPE Healthcare and Hospice volunteer receives free and comprehensive training before being assigned a volunteer job. They learn hospice philosophy, caring for the terminally ill, grief and loss education, health and safety precautions, and more. They talk about what kinds of volunteering they are interested in and what talents the volunteer coordinator sees in them.
What Do Hospice Volunteers Do?
HOPE Healthcare and Hospice offers hospice volunteer opportunities that allow you to choose the role with which you feel the most comfortable. These include:
Support for patients. This can include visiting, reading, taking walks, writing letters, interpreting for those who do not speak English, bringing in music, and supervising therapeutic visits with pets. Volunteers with necessary certification can also provide massage therapy. Some hospices also utilize volunteers who offer complementary therapies such as aroma therapy or therapeutic touch.
Respite and support for family members. Volunteers can assist with shopping or light household maintenance, or allow family caregivers the opportunity to take care of necessary errands, exercise, or simply have some time alone. Volunteers can also help care for a family pet.
Bereavement support programs. Hospice volunteers can work closely with the hospice’s bereavement staff. Duties may include assisting a support group facilitator, serving refreshments, or helping with mailings to families.
Administrative Duties. A volunteer with clerical skills can serve a hospice by helping in the office with administrative duties. Responsibilities can range from preparing mailings or thank-you letters to organizing events.
Special skills and interests. Many hospices utilize volunteers to help maintain patient’s yards and/or assist with landscaping. Notaries, barbers and beauticians often volunteer their services to patients. Musicians often volunteer to play for patients.