Mission Hospice volunteers are specially trained members of the community who bring a richness of life experiences, special skills, and compassion to their volunteering. The greatest gift a Mission Hospice volunteer can give is the gift of time. Volunteers do not have to hurry away. They provide whatever appropriate support is needed to help make life better for patients and their families and friends during a time that is often stressful and difficult.
Mission Hospice volunteers who have direct contact with patients are prepared for their role through a 30-hour training course conducted by Mission Hospice staff, professional team members, and experienced volunteers. Training includes the philosophy of hospice, palliative care, listening and communication skills, death and dying, comfort measures, grief and loss, community resources, and the role of the Hospice volunteer and other team members.
The greatest gift a Mission Hospice volunteer gives is the gift of time.
Mission Hospice volunteers can provide the following areas of support:
A significant part of the hospice volunteer’s role is to provide emotional support for patients and/or family members. This encompasses being present, listening, accepting, and normalizing.
A volunteer may listen, reassure without giving advice, share worries and concerns, hold a hand, or just sit quietly. Other activities may include reading, listening to music, playing games, and watching TV or a movie.
A volunteer may assist the patient and family with activities that practically enhance their quality of life.
A volunteer may review a patient’s life, explore meaning and value, and even record these memories.
If asked, a volunteer may pray, chant, sing with a family, read inspirational books, and play meaningful music. The volunteer will listen if the patient wants to communicate his or her beliefs, values, spiritual or religious faiths, fears, any thoughts or feelings about end of life, or will provide a referral to a pastoral care worker or community spiritual leader.
The volunteer may stay with the patient during scheduled periods of time when the caregiver needs to be away, or spend time with other family members.
Volunteers offer a variety of comforts supports which include companioning, listening, reading, singing, holding someone’s hand, legacy work, feeding assistance and serving beverages and snacks. Specially trained volunteers provide reiki, healing touch, meditation, harp therapy and art therapy.
A volunteer may help identify community resources or help the family access appropriate hospice palliative care services.
If requested, a volunteer team can stay with a patient and family around the clock during the last day or two of life.
A volunteer may become aware of a few needs that are not being met and can advocate for those needs or support the family.
Volunteers provide one on one bereavement support and are involved in various grief support programs.