A compassionate, caring friend, Hospice volunteers are valued-by patients, families, staff and the community. Volunteers provide services and comforts that are not available through other resources. Volunteers are the backbone of hospice. Through the ages, since medieval times, volunteers have perpetuated the hospice philosophy.
The Hospice Concept
Hospice care is designed to affirm the belief that it is important to make every life as meaningful as possible, from the first days of a life-limiting illness to the last. To validate quality rather than quantity of life. To provide care to the patient and family which reflect a living expression of love, warmth and compassion.
Areas of Volunteer Service
Many varied skills and life experiences can be effectively utilized in providing hospice services.
* Patient Care: Volunteers provide companionship to the patient, respite for the caregiver and are welcomed as concerned and caring hospice friends. Volunteers can help by making friendly visits, reading to patients, writing letters, providing transportation, running errands, meal preparatIon, hair care and light housekeeping. Often times the most important thing the volunteer offers is just being present and available to listen... sharing quiet moments of contemplation or giving a pat on the arm.
* Bereavement: Bereavement volunteers offer support to the families and friends of deceased patients. During the grieving process, the bereavement volunteer is an invaluable resource for family members and friends, especially those who lack a solid support system.
* Administrative support: Office support volunteers provide much needed help for the staff by sending birthday cards, sympathy cards and bereavement notes along with general office duty such as typing and preparing bulk mailings.
* Speaker's Bureau: Trained volunteers present educational programs that explain the hospice philosophy and services to churches and civic groups.
Completion of a volunteer training program is required for patient care and bereavement volunteers and is recommended for all hospice volunteers. Hospice volunteer training provides information about the history and philosophy of hospice, and covers the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of death and dying. Training is accomplished through an interactive format by presenters skilled in the specific subject areas.