What is Hospice?

Hospice is a program of palliative care and supportive services for terminally ill patients and their families. An interdisciplinary team of nurses, social workers, home health aides, spiritual care coordinators, therapists and volunteers work together to provide individualized services. All team members are trained in providing emotional support to the patient and family. The hospice team goes to the patients, whether they are living in private homes, nursing homes, hospitals or assisted living communities, when they qualify for hospice services. Hospice neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Rather, its goal is to affirm life and encourage the patient to maintain control over decisions that affect his or her quality of life. Support is available 24 hours a day. Hospice care is ready to meet the ever-changing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs experienced by the patient and family during the dying and bereavement process.

 

What Will I Do as a Volunteer?

As a volunteer, you can assist in the following ways:

• Visiting with patients and their families

• Performing errands for the family (e.g., grocery shopping)

• Providing brief periods of time off for family caregivers

• Offering bereavement support to the family

• Assisting in clerical support for the hospice staff

• Aiding hospice staff in public relations and community outreach

 

How Many Hours Must I Give?

You can determine the amount of time that you are able to volunteer. AseraCare prefers that volunteers give at least one to two hours of support each week. We believe that any amount of time you spend with a patient contributes to their quality of life and provides much-needed support for his or her family.

What Makes a Good Volunteer?

• Compassion

• Open-mindedness

• A caring heart

• Reliability

• A listening ear

We are happy to creatively incorporate your many skills into our hospice services. Let us know your talents and we will let you know how you can help!

How Do I Become a Volunteer?

Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a volunteer. Volunteers are required to go through training, regardless of what type of volunteering you would like to do. Each volunteer must also pass a criminal background check, and drug and tuberculosis testing. All of the training and services are paid for by AseraCare.

Orientation and ongoing training throughout the year include a variety of topics:

• Hospice philosophy

• Concepts of death and dying

• Family dynamics

• Pain management

• Care and comfort measures

• Universal precautions

• Communication

• Legal and ethical issues

• Advance directives

• Bereavement

• Spiritual care

• Cultural diversity

• Veteran-to-Veteran

If you are a surviving family member, we encourage you to wait a minimum of one year following the patient’s death to serve as a direct care volunteer or in public relations activities.