What Are Hospice Volunteers?

It is believed by many with a religious background that angels surround the dying in their final moments, offering peace and comfort throughout their transition from this life to the next. Since these ministering angels typically don’t make themselves known until that person reaches the edges of existence here on earth, the act of ministering to the dying leading up to that time is often relegated to humans who act as angels on earth. These individuals are known as hospice nurses, CNAs, and volunteers. Today, we will look at one of these more specifically, the all-important hospice volunteer:

What is a Hospice Volunteer?

Hospice is end-of-life care that gives a terminally ill patient the care they need to be as pain-free as possible throughout the transition between life and death. It also includes social services and counseling in many cases, helping the families and support system prepare for the loss of a loved one, as well as ministering to the dying patient themselves in a variety of ways. A hospice volunteer is a non-paid individual who serves as non-medical support for both hospice patients and their families and friends. It is a support person who helps stand in the gap when nurses, CNAs, and other medical professionals are not able to be present. They are crucial cogs in the hospice machine, and without hospice volunteers, the ministering nature of hospice would not be near the blessing it is to most families.

Companionship Direct Patient Interaction

Hospice volunteers can serve a wide variety of roles and minister in many different ways to both patients and their families and friends. They can travel to patients’ homes where they are being cared for by hospice medical workers and other caregivers and spend time with them. This can include the following tasks, but of course, often differs based on the individual volunteer and what services they want to provide:

  • Write letters for patients that will be left to their families and friends.
  • Play games with patients and/or family and friends.
  • Do light household chores.
  • Provide moments of respite, so family members and caregivers can take a break.
  • Cook meals (only in some cases.)
  • Read, pray, or play music with the patients, offering comfort and peace.
  • Utilize their special skills to serve in unique ways, like offering to provide manicures and haircuts, creating art projects, or more.

Hospice Volunteers Also Make a Different Indirectly

While the above outlines actionable ways a hospice volunteer might interact with a patient and/or their family and friends directly, they also make a significant impact on the home’s dynamic by offering to help in indirect ways. For example, they can help the family and/or the patient in many ways without even interacting with the patient themselves. This can include tasks like the following:

  • Make cards or homemade blankets that are then given to the patients.
  • Make phone calls and assist with remembrance events. Help families find needed bereavement services.
  • Answer phone calls, and help set up events, help with filing or preparing mailings or letters.

Other Roles That Hospice Volunteers Can Play

While the needs within the home are great for hospice patients and those who love them, hospice volunteers can also help in the office by providing administrative support. This can free up staff to spend more time with patients by reducing the amount of time they are focused on clerical or administrative duties. Overall, due to the many ways in which they can help, hospice volunteers play a very crucial role in creating a positive end-of-life experience not only for the patient but for their families as well.

Why Hospice Volunteers Are Necessary?

Hospice patients can often feel isolated and lonely during this difficult time of their lives. Family members or friends who offer them support can feel overwhelmed and simply have no idea where to turn. While the excellent medical care given by nurses and other medical professionals is immensely important, these dedicated individuals are often unable to provide the companionship that is needed during their time due to schedule constraints. This is where hospice volunteers come into play and provide the extra support needed by both the patient and their families and friends during this time. This allows families to focus on spending time with their loved ones and not to worry about matters the hospice volunteer can handle.

Hospice Volunteer Characteristics

While there are no set rules regarding qualifications for hospice volunteers, the individuals who do best in this role tend to have specific characteristics. We will always look for the following traits when considering anyone for our hospice volunteer team:

  • A strong listener, being able to read the room and learn what is needed in each home.
  • A desire to give back and serve others for no monetary profit. Visiting as little or as much as you like.
  • Empathetic with not only the patient and their situation but with the family and the hardships they are facing as well.
  • Compassionate, above all else, a good hospice volunteer will show compassion for those they are serving and serving alongside.
  • Respect for different ways of life and belief systems. As death approaches, many different faiths will approach this transition differently. Now is the time to be open to all the various faiths and what will bring that patient comfort.

How to Become a Hospice Volunteer

If you think you fit the above criteria and would love to learn more about the steps it takes to become a hospice volunteer, contact us today at Doctor’s Choice Home Care & Hospice. Let us explain what we are looking for in a hospice volunteer and get you started on qualifying for this all-important role. Remember, as a hospice volunteer, you are not required to work any set hours but can instead determine the amount of time you want to invest in your volunteer work. We encourage you to learn more about hospice and the impact you can have on this process. Thank you for your interest in potentially becoming a volunteer. We simply cannot do it without you!

Back to News
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram