This has been written about hospice volunteers.
"You are the light of hospice.
That light begins deep within your
compassionate heart and grows and grows.
Finally, that light radiates all around you.
You might not see it, but everyone else does.
Yes, you are the light of hospice."
"I think I shall change your name.
Yes, because "volunteer" just doesn't quite say enough.
I shall call you "angel" -
angel of compassion, angel of mercy, angel of love.
Yes, I shall call you 'angel'!"
The 400,000+ hospice volunteers in hospices throughout the U.S. are an essential and invaluable part of the hospice philosophy of care. This philosophy recognizes that the final stage of life is not just a medical or physical event but a very personal and emotional one as well.
Volunteers are very important members of our interdisciplinary team. They help us develop and maintain an environment of caring and compassionate support for our clients, their families and caregivers. Studies have shown that the very presence of volunteers is a diversion for hospice clients that can make a difference in their levels of pain.
Medicare believes so strongly in the positive contributions made by volunteers it has directed that our total annual volunteer hours of service must be at least 5% of the total hours of client care provided by our entire hospice clinical staff.
Volunteers provide both practical assistance and compassionate support to our clients and family members. They demonstrate a deep commitment to the hospice concept and to their desire to help others.
Volunteers in hospice tell us they find it personally gratifying, intellectually stimulating and emotionally meaningful to assist those in need at a critical point in their lives. Many of our volunteers have come to us because of a friend or family member's experiences with hospice care. However, nearly 20% of our volunteers are new to hospice and are people who simply want to give back to their community. Volunteers consistently tell us their hospice experiences have taught them that helping the terminally ill through hospice is not about dying, rather it's about living.
We always have opportunities for volunteers. Volunteers may range in age from eighteen to senior citizens. While volunteer opportunities can vary greatly, we strive to use your valuable time and talents constructively. Some volunteers may have professional skills or specialized expertise, but most are just people who want to help their friends and neighbors and serve their community.
Some of the wide range of opportunities available for volunteers include, but are not limited to,
This can include visiting, reading, taking walks, writing letters, bringing in music, supervising visits with pets, helping with pet care, sitting with clients, making phone calls, running errands and acting as a handy man/woman…….since clients sometimes need help in building wheelchair ramps, tending gardens or repairing handrails.
- Respite and support for family members and caregivers
Volunteers can assist with shopping or household maintenance. They also give the family and caregivers an opportunity to take care of necessary errands or perhaps simply have some time without any responsibilities to help relieve emotional stress. Family members also appreciate a visit from a compassionate friend who understands and cares about what they are going through.
This can include help with babysitting, picking up children from school or providing necessary transportation to club meetings or sporting events and practices.
- Bereavement support programs
Hospice volunteers can work closely with the hospice’s professional bereavement staff in duties that range from assisting as a support group facilitator to serving refreshments and helping with mailings to our clients and their families.
A volunteer with clerical skills can help in the agency's office. Hospices are sometimes understaffed and need assistance with simple administrative duties such as answering phones, data entry, filing documents, operating copier and fax machines, preparing handout packets and generally helping to ensure the office runs smoothly.
To ensure we prepare our volunteers for the challenges of working with the terminally ill, we ask our volunteers to complete both orientation and training courses. Volunteers who will have client contact will complete a 30 hour course. Volunteers who provide administrative support will complete a 20 hour course. We also ask our volunteers to undergo routine background checks.
We will conduct your training and you will provide your volunteer services entirely at your convenience and according to your schedule. We will never ask you to disrupt your own life in any way to be one of our volunteers.
If being a hospice volunteer sounds interesting and fulfilling to you, our Volunteer Coordinator would love to discuss our program with you in more detail. If you are interested in becoming a hospice volunteer, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (972) 233-0525.
Autumn Journey Hospice
5347 Spring Valley Road
Dallas, TX 75254