Volunteers: At the Heart of Hospice Care

Volunteers: At the Heart of Hospice Care

By Sandra Huster, Director, Volunteer and Community Relations, Covenant Care

One cannot overstate the value of hospice volunteers enhancing the care of patients with a life-limiting illness. Hospice volunteering allows exceptional, caring individuals to use their education, experiences, gifts and skills to help provide patients, caregivers and families with the most peaceful and comfortable end-of-life experience possible.

In addition to their intrinsic value, Medicare-certified hospice programs are federally mandated to integrate hospice volunteers into administrative or patient services. Hospice organizations are required to demonstrate total number of volunteer-service hours equal at least 5% of total patient-care hours provided by hospice employees and contract staff.

Bringing comfort to those on the end-of-life journey requires a heart of compassion and a desire to serve. These volunteers are often provided with training to prepare them for opportunities to assist patients, caregivers, and families, whether directly or indirectly:

 

Direct-Care Volunteer Opportunities

Straight road to heaven, abstract rural landscape

 

 

  • Preparing meals for patients and families, assisting in light household chores or providing transportation
  • Offering companionship and a comforting presence
  • Providing caregivers with a short respite
  • Encouraging bereaved family members and children
  • Honoring veteran patients

Indirect-Care Volunteer Opportunities

  • Assisting in clerical tasks or community-outreach mailings
  • Helping with fundraising and special events
  • Practical help for patients and family, such as:

– Building wheelchair ramps

– Doing yard work

– Cooking and baking

– Crafting or sewing

 

While hospice volunteers have a tremendous impact on the lives of others, the volunteers themselves commonly report a greater appreciation for what is truly important, acceptance of death as a part of life, understanding of diverse cultures and life perspectives, and a sense of fulfillment in contributing to the community.

 

To learn about volunteer opportunities and training dates, please visit www.choosecovenant.org/volunteers.