Why Hospice Volunteers are Important
A hospice team has many different members. Hospice volunteers are an important part of the team, providing a connection for patients and a little bit of breathing room for family caregivers. The things they do for families with someone in hospice can be as simple as watching television or chatting with a patient or spending time chatting with a family member. Sometimes, relationships form, and the time spent volunteering can be as meaningful for the volunteer as it is for the patient and family members.
Why do people become hospice volunteers?
Volunteers have many different reasons for choosing to help with hospice care. Some people feel led by their faith to spend time helping people, and hospice feels like a good fit. Others may discover hospice when a loved one is dying and realize that they may have a calling to be a hospice volunteer. Those who have been served by hospice may feel moved by the compassionate care they observed and received and may want to give back through volunteering.
By providing companionship, kindness, and support to those in hospice care and their families, they are able to do good in their community. Many volunteers gain a sense of fulfilment from volunteering that positively impacts their lives as well as those with whom they volunteer. By getting to know people in hospice care, they gain a renewed sense of the precious nature of life and how important it is to treasure every moment. Relationships form and patients gain comfort and support, while volunteers also benefit from these connections.
What are the benefits of becoming a hospice volunteer?
Engaging in community service through working as a hospice volunteer allows you to make a difference where you live, and promotes feelings of satisfaction and self-worth. Volunteering is good for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. In fact, there is research to indicate that regular volunteer work can dramatically increase a person’s life expectancy. Further, as your sense of well-being increases, you will notice a decrease in insomnia and your immune system will become stronger. Volunteers who have surgery even experience a faster recovery time.
There are benefits unrelated to health, as well. Those who volunteer with hospice will enhance their resumes and college applications. Any time an organization evaluates your resume, volunteer service time reflects positively on you. In fact, one study found that 73 percent of employers are more likely to recruit candidates with volunteer experience over those without.
Further, hospice volunteers benefit from meeting new people. While doing things like helping at events and interacting with other volunteers, hospice volunteers have the opportunity to connect with like-minded people and expand their social and professional networks. They form friendships that enrich their lives while they are also enriching the lives of others.
People have personal reasons for volunteering.
Here are some reasons volunteers have given for choosing to become hospice volunteers:
- “I believe it’s important to give back to your community.”
- “I was a nurse for 30 years. When I retired, I wanted to find a way to still help people.”
- Hospice “cared for my husband as he was dying from brain cancer. He was treated with respect and dignity, and I myself received emotional support from the staff. This experience led me to become a hospice volunteer.”
- Hospice treated “Mom with dignity and treated us, her family, with compassion and kindness…We learned first-hand that hospice doesn’t have to be something to fear.”
- “The care my mom received…made such an impact on me that I wanted to give back.”
What are some opportunities available to hospice volunteers?
Hospice volunteers can visit patients to offer companionship. They might help patients write letters, or assist with light housekeeping, gardening, and pet walking. Some volunteers just sit with patients, reading to them or listening to the patient’s favorite music. Others assist with shopping or running errands. Volunteers are not expected to assist in personal care tasks like toileting, bathing, or dressing, and they are not asked to administer medication or perform any other type of medical care. Sometimes volunteers provide respite care so that caregivers can take a break, and sometimes they help patients record their memories through scrapbooking, videos, and journaling. Volunteers are often paired with patients with whom they have something in common, to make it easier for them to relate to each other. Some volunteers provide pet therapy, and others assist with meal preparation. Others simply offer a listening ear to patients who need one.
Wherever you believe you would fit into hospice volunteering, there is likely to be a job you would be comfortable doing. You can bring your talents to hospice and do something you already know how to do, or you can broaden your horizons if you are open to learning new skills. If you are interested in volunteering with hospice, but have experienced a significant loss, it is advisable to wait a year before signing up to volunteer.
For Questions about Hospice, Contact Agape Hospice NW
If you are looking for a hospice where you can get help for a loved one or find a place to belong as a volunteer, Agape Hospice NW is a wonderful option. Accredited by The Joint Commission, Agape strives to help our patients to live the remainder of their lives to the fullest, by improving quality of life not only for our patients but also for their families. The Joint Commission is nationally recognized as the gold standard in health care, and Agape has met the organization’s enhanced requirements for patient safety and quality of care. We provide social workers, spiritual counselors, volunteers, bereavement counselors, and certified hospice aides, all under the direction of a medical director who is responsible for ensuring that the patient’s wishes are honored, and each patient is receiving the highest level of care. We also provide registered nurses experienced in helping during this emotional time, as well as assessing the needs of the patient. For more information about how we can help, call (503) 628-9595 or contact us through our website.