You can be a Clarity Hospice Volunteer
Hospice volunteers are dedicated to providing ears for listening, hands for holding, and comfort to people with life-limiting illnesses.
To be a hospice volunteer, you must possess the personal qualities of a positive approach to life, maturity, empathy, flexibility, a sense of humor, willingness to help others, and an enjoyment of being with them. A volunteer should also show the ability and willingness to work as a team member.
Hospice volunteers are men and women of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in working in a variety of roles to help fulfill the hospice mission.
Doctor’s Hospice recruits, trains, and assigns compatible volunteers to provide patients with a variety of services, including visiting, reading, correspondence, and reminiscing.
The hospice volunteer may provide companionship to the patient and family, relieve the caregiver for short periods of time, assist with errands, make deliveries and perform other needed services.
Hospice is an approach to health care that is designed to support the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of someone with a life-limiting illness or condition.
Hospice care provides compassionate care and support for those in the last stage of life so they may live their life as fully and comfortably as possible.
Hospice affirms life and regards its end as a normal process. It doesn’t speed the
process, nor is its purpose to delay death.
The goal of hospice is to allow the dying process to unfold with a minimum of discomfort and to maintain the patient’s dignity and quality of life until the end.
What Does a Volunteer Do?
The roles a volunteer can play are varied, but most fall into one of two major categories:
- those who are directly involved with the patient and their family, and
- those who indirectly support the patient by providing services directly to the hospice.
While all of us have the innate ability to provide compassionate care to a loved one who is dying, our lack of confidence in our care-giving abilities, along with the fears associated with confronting death in such an intimate way, interferes with our instincts to serve.
This is where hospice volunteer training is instrumental in preparing a prospective volunteer to serve the dying and their families.
Are There Any Restrictions?
Generally, if you have had a significant loss in your life–perhaps a spouse, sibling, or parent– the hospice will carefully assess your readiness to serve as a volunteer. If you are still grieving that loss, it can interfere with your ability to serve others who are dying. Most hospices will recommend that you wait six months to a year before volunteering. Most hospice volunteer applicants are now required to permit the hospice to do a criminal background check before accepting them into their training program. Each state has their own requirements.
Why Do You Use Volunteers?
Most hospices are paid through Medicare. Medicare law states that in order to receive payment for services rendered, a hospice must meet the requirement to maintain a volunteer staff “to provide administrative or direct patient care in an amount that, at a minimum, equals 5 percent of the total patient care hours of all paid hospice employees and contract staff.” Hospice volunteers come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and professions. This diversity of life experience increases the likelihood that a hospice will be able to provide volunteers that will be compatible with a broad spectrum of individual needs. Volunteers are most often perceived by hospice patients as just ordinary people from the community. As a result, volunteers are able to help normalize the experience for the patients and their families.