Helpful tips for hospice volunteers!
We understand that being a hospice volunteer can be rewarding and life changing, and with it come some emotional tolls. Each and every person receiving hospice is so grateful and we make the lives of each client so much better, and for that we are forever grateful.
Americare Hospice and Palliative Care serves Arizona and does so with the respect, care and quality that add value to the lives we touch. It’s with integrity and skill that we approach each story and help them along their journey. Hospice care is a dream to many going through this moment in their lives, and hospice volunteers truly make the difference when it comes to the patients we get to serve and help.
Without volunteers we would be quick to find ourselves without a foot to stand on. The work of volunteers is vital to our daily operation and for staying true to our mission and goals. As a provider and volunteer you are not only helping patients but their families as well. Providing support and enhancing the quality of life may be more significant to them than many treatments or procedures they have received prior.
To become a volunteer:
To become part of a much larger plan and help people stay happy during this trying time, our volunteers must be able to sit, stand, reach, read, write and help patients with any and all tasks. Communication must be clear and is a huge part of our success and we are always deciding the next best thing to help our patients feel comfortable in their own home, with our care. To be in good health is a must and being able to completely preform the tasks of the job is essential for our patients’ comfort and happiness.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, what you do, what hobbies you have or the color of your hair. We know that volunteers come to us from all over to help and we know how important it is for them to do so. Volunteers should know what an impact they make and the immeasurable benefit that it gives to families, and should know what to expect.
Tips for our volunteers:
Most days on the job are fulfilling and our volunteers go home knowing they made a difference in the lives of our patients, and some days are not as easy. Much of our time is spent helping people cope with and understand how to be comfortable after receiving their last treatments. Patients are eternally grateful for volunteers’ time and effort, and support, but that does come with an emotional requirement. We thank our volunteers for their strength and sincerity, and encourage them to maintain a strong emotional health whether they do this through prayer, church, therapy, meditation, yoga or the like.
We do not find many of our volunteers depressed, but sadness can be a symptom of the job. It’s important to remember that we are giving these patients the greatest gift they can receive – and that’s friendship and presence.
In case of a medical emergency:
Scottsdale hospice care and palliative nurses are always available for medical questions, and usually we find that with medical emergencies there is sufficient warning if it is a serious issue. Within the training you receive you will know exactly how to handle this type of situation, but keep the nurses number handy.
Listening is one of the greatest things we can do for our patients.
Some of our volunteers wonder what they can say or do for someone that knows they are not going to be with us much longer, or they wonder how to not “say the wrong thing” but it is easy. These patients, your patients, want to talk about the things they love. Their families, favorite sports teams, who won Dancing with the Stars or what is happening in the world – these are all things that are significant to them right up until the very end. We encourage you to be their friends, talk about your own life and family and help take their mind of something that can feel limiting.
Things to consider…
Some of our volunteers are moved to do so because of their own loss, from which they gain an understanding of how hard a situation like this can be and what a difference having wonderful support and a smile can make. Our only precaution is you allow yourself to grieve and go through your own healing process (everyone has a different timeline for this) before becoming a volunteer, so that you can be as present as possible and help in the best way you can.
Training provides numerous tips and tricks for being successful and happy as a volunteer, you’ll learn that it’s ok to extend a hug or hold hands. Visiting patients and the amount of time you dedicate is up to you, but we like to see our volunteers visit a patient at least once a week.
Some things you can do with your patients:
Perhaps you are an artist, or love to sing. Providing art supplies and helping them with a new project or singing to them during morning coffee can bring an immense amount of happiness into their days. If you have an emotional support animal at home this could be a great way for your patient to feel loved and happy. Petting animals is shown to increase Serotonin (the happy chemical) in our brains and can be fun for your patient to watch a dog play around.
Get to know whom you are spending time with. If their favorite treat is double chocolate brownies, why not whip some up and bring it to them on their birthday or just for coffee one morning?
Americare is dedicated to providing the best East Valley hospice care and finding the best hospice volunteers here in Arizona, and the next difference we make could be because of you.
Americare Hospice and Palliative Care
1212 N. Spencer St., Suite #2
Mesa, Arizona 85203
Office: (480) 726-7773
Fax: (480) 726-7790
Email: [email protected]