Today there are almost 500,000 caring individuals serving as hospice volunteers across the United States. Serving as valued members of the hospice care team, volunteers enhance the patient and family experience by helping meet specific needs. Volunteers give their time and compassion to patients and families dealing with end-of-life care needs as well as assisting with administrative office needs and bereavement support. JourneyCare Hospice relies on our volunteers to assist us in delivering exceptional end-of-life care.
Volunteers range in age from teens to senior citizens. Some volunteers come to hospice as part of their high school or college course requirements. Some individuals experienced the benefits of hospice through the loss of a loved one and now want to give back through serving others during this difficult time. Some volunteers have professional skills or specialized expertise, but most are just empathetic people who want to help and serve their community.
Hospice volunteers can dedicate as little or as much time as they wish. Some volunteers donate several hours each week while others commit to a few hours each month. Some hospice volunteers prefer to offer services on an as-needed basis. All volunteers will have the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one discussion with our Volunteer Coordinator to discuss their interests and availability.
All hospice volunteers receive training to ensure that they feel comfortable performing their requested/assigned care activities. You determine the amount of time you can provide, but generally it is between two and six hours of support per patient visit.
- Being present with the patient to allow their caregiver to rest and/or run errands.
- Listening to the patient. They may share their concerns, regrets, and/or areas of thankfulness with you. You may have opportunities to encourage the patient to share their life story (and possibly capture a verbal or written summary of this information).
- Engaging in the patient’s hobbies – perhaps reading to them, listening to music, discussing current events or playing a board or card game.
- Assisting the patient to make short trips outside, assisting with phone calls and/or letter writing.
- Visiting with family members/caregivers. These individuals often appreciate the opportunity to talk with someone who understands what they are going through.
- Visiting pet volunteer if you have a pet that is therapy certified.
Bereavement Support Activities
These activities are typically performed by telephone from the hospice office. Bereavement Support volunteers may provide as little as one hour of service or up to four or more hours of bereavement support.
- Make monthly follow-up phone calls to survivors to identify any needs or issues.
- Assist with grief support mail-outs.
- Assist with grief support meetings.
- Assist with agency memorial service preparation and participation.
Office Support/Non-Direct Care Support
Bibs created by volunteers
- Photocopying, filing and/or organizing supplies
- Assist with mail outs and mail delivery
- Make “tuck-in” calls to patients prior to each weekend to ensure they have needed medications and supplies.
- Make craft items (cards, lap blankets, slippers, etc.) for patients
- Assist patients with yard work, small building and home repair projects
- Being in attendance at or near the time of death
- Comforting the patient and/or their family
- Knowing who to call and what to do at or near the time of death
Volunteer Wish List
Listed below are a few special service areas where volunteers are particularly needed:
- Volunteers available Sunday mornings to allow families to attend religious services
- Volunteers with trained pet therapy animals
- Hair stylists who can cut hair in the patient’s home
- Musicians who can play for patients in their home or in facilities
All volunteer candidates must pass a drug and background check prior to beginning service with our organization. Our agency will cover the cost of both the drug test and the background check.