Volunteering with a hospice organization is a rewarding experience that provides families with much needed support during a difficult time. While medical care personnel are important, hospice volunteers are just as essential to the care group. They are trained to interact with hospice patients and can assist with daily tasks, provide social interaction for the child, and more to help families and children improve their quality of life. Knowing what to expect when you become a hospice volunteer or welcome one into your home can help everyone have a fulfilling and impactful experience.
What Does a Hospice Volunteer Do?
Hospice volunteers make scheduled visits to hospice patients in their homes or in a facility. Each volunteer typically visits once per week to ensure that the patient has frequent social support. Here are some other actions that a hospice volunteer might undertake:
Companionship and Conversation
One of the most important roles of a hospice volunteer is to be a loving presence for the person they are visiting. This action can take many forms. Hospice patients enjoy talking to volunteers about their favorite memories, hobbies, and more. They may also go through photo albums, listen to music, play games, watch movies, or go for walks with their volunteer. Whatever your child enjoys doing can be done with a hospice volunteer, providing them with social interaction and entertainment.
Many hospice care volunteers are certified pet, art, music, and play therapists who are happy to volunteer their professional services. Through these unique therapies, children are able to express themselves in a creative way. This helps them process their feelings, enjoy a new hobby, and socialize with others, as these therapies are often provided in group settings. Staying at home all day can be unexciting, and creative therapies provided by volunteers give your child a new activity to look forward to from time to time.
Not all hospice volunteers visit patients’ homes during their shifts. Some choose to work in a more administrative role with the hospice provider itself. Instead of spending time with patients, they work to ensure that the hospice provider is able to continue offering high quality care. These volunteers may handle scheduling for home visits, make phone calls, help with fundraising efforts and event planning, and complete other paperwork and office tasks. This support helps hospice providers stay organized and use their finances to recruit top medical professionals and provide better care for their children.
Benefits of Hospice Volunteers
Families with a loved one in hospice care benefit from hospice volunteers in several ways. A volunteer can provide an hour or so of respite care, allowing caregivers to take a break and rest or tend to other responsibilities, such as house cleaning or childcare-related tasks. Hospice volunteers also provide patients with needed social interaction, helping them remain as alert as possible, entertaining them when family and friends are unable to visit, and keeping their mood upbeat. Hospice programs with a volunteer department generally score higher on patient satisfaction surveys as well, showing that they have a positive impact on quality of life.
Getting More Information on Hospice Volunteers
Speak to KidsCare of the Rockies for more information about becoming a hospice volunteer or incorporating a volunteer into your loved one’s care team. KidsCare provides comprehensive hospice care plans for children facing life-limiting illnesses and their families, including volunteer support when appropriate, to help everyone feel comfortable and secure during a difficult time.