Volunteers offer direct and indirect patient support to help terminally ill persons and their families in the patient’s own home setting.
Direct care volunteer activities may include:
- Visiting with a patient living in their home to provide respite for caregivers and companionship for the patient
- Visiting with patients whose home is a nursing facility and providing companionship and emotional support
- Providing a listening ear for both patient and caregivers
- Providing transportation to medical or other appointments, running errands and delivering supplies and medications
- Providing support to the patient and family through music, conversation, or the recording of a patient’s memories
- Providing bereavement support to family members after the patient’s death
- Providing pet therapy visits for patients who desire the companionship of a certified therapy animal
Each volunteer interested in working in direct supportive services with patients and families must attend a 30-hour training course which includes:
- An introduction to hospice history and philosophy
- Information on patient rights
- Communication techniques
- The volunteer roles and responsibilities on the hospice team
- Pain management and comfort measures
- The grieving process and how to help
- Spiritual needs of the dying and their families and friends
- The emotional and social needs of a family impacted by terminal illness
- Techniques for providing personal car
Volunteers are assigned to their areas of interest by the volunteer voordinator. Volunteers doing direct care or bereavement care are assigned to specific patients for the duration of that patient’s hospice stay.
A volunteer should expect to give four hours per week.