Volunteers are a very important part of the hospice interdisciplinary team. They provide essential services in all levels of hospice care. Each volunteer brings to Hospice valuable skills and unique talents.
When a patient is at home, the Hospice Volunteer can assist by running errands or doing yard work. He or she can sit with the patient so the caregiver can take a break or even just make a “check-in” phone call. Volunteers that come to the Hospice often have had family members in Hospice Care. By sharing their experiences, they often help ease the concerns and anxieties of Hospice families.
In the Inpatient Hospice Unit, the volunteers greet visitors and provide support and assistance to the Hospice patient and family. Some volunteers have offered their musical talents to provide the soothing comfort that music brings. When a patient is in the nursing home or in an assisted living community, the volunteer is just a friendly visitor who provides companionship to the Hospice patient.
Pastoral Care volunteers meet with home and inpatient Hospice patients and families to provide support, comfort. They work directly with the Hospice Chaplain to nourish the spiritual needs of patients and families. The bereavement counselor performs his or her duties with the assistance of a volunteer staff. The volunteers assist with phone calls, mailings and coordination of memorial services.
Some volunteers prefer to do office work and assist with answering the phones and providing support to the clerical staff. Community education about the Hospice philosophy is a major goal for hospice agencies. The volunteer can participate by working at health fairs held in the community. The volunteer can also help with fund-raising events or in a yearly children’s bereavement camp. It is obvious the Hospice volunteer can serve in a variety of ways.
Editor’s Note: For information about becoming a hospice volunteer, contact Canon Hospice in Baton Rouge. See their ad on the inside front cover of this directory.