More than 550,000 men and women volunteer for hospices around the country, donating more than 25 million hours of service. You can share in this rewarding experience locally, too. To help you discern how best you can help, here are some resources to encourage and inspire you. We hope you contact us soon at Hospice at Home to volunteer. Our patients and their families need you to help make every moment count in their lives.
Created by hospice volunteer and author, Mary Jo Bennett, this website includes articles on what it's like to be a hospice volunteer, and excerpts from her book, When Autumn Comes: Creating Compassionate Care for the Dying.
Communicate with others through this discussion forum for hospice volunteers and volunteer coordinators. This is a place to share ideas and offer support to one another. Those who are interested in joining need have no official connection to any specific hospice — just a desire to learn more and engage in discussions that enhance services to terminally ill patients and their families.
An interview with a hospice volunteer, recognized with a 2004 Community Service Award by her employer, Duke University.
Dying Declarations: Notes from a Hospice Volunteer
A candid account of a volunteer's initial concern that hospice would be a depressing venue. Instead, the author tells touching stories that illustrate the uplifting and enriching nature of working with people who, at the end of life, are willing to strip away all that is unimportant and embrace their true priorities. He also gets very specific about hospice training and the ways a hospice volunteer can positively impact the patients and families they serve.
It helps to have read all the literature that Hospice at Home has sent for me to read about healing after a family member passes.
In the Midst of Life: A Hospice Volunteer's Story
Chalres Rose, 2003
Retired English teacher, Charles Rose, recounts stories of his experience in Lee County, Alabama.
Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude and Courage at the End of Life
Stan Goldberg, 2009
The author, a hospice volunteer, shares his personal journey as he cares for hospice patients and learns the simple grace of ordinary acts of daily kindness.
When Autumn Comes: Creating Compassionate Care of the Dying
Mary Jo Bennett, 2004
Practical advice and thoughtful reflection accompany the stories presented in this book by long time hospice volunteer, Mary Jo Bennett.
When Evening Comes: The Education of a Hospice Volunteer
Christine Andreae, 2000
Through 15 stories of working with women dying of breast cancer in rural Virginia, the author traces her evolution from novice to seasoned volunteer. She talks about some of the difficulties, but also the immense rewards.
Training and enrichment materials
Although training is an integral part of the volunteer program, you may find these reference materials useful.
This 500-page binder is a caregiver's training manual funded by Eisai and created as a joint project of numerous caregiving organizations. Although not hospice-specific, it certainly offers education and skill building pertinent to the hospice volunteer. Topics cover aging, becoming a volunteer, supporting family caregivers, dealing with loss, finding help and a glossary of common terms. Each chapter can be downloaded for free.
Growthhouse.org helps end-of-life professionals network and access resources to improve their practice and understanding. It has a special section for volunteers, including books, links to professional forums, a newsletter and a guided meditation CD on providing compassionate service.