They are an important part of every patient’s treatment plan. Their work takes them directly into the patient’s world and puts them in the shoes of those patients. By providing a shoulder to lean on and hear the words, “I’m dying,” they offer a true last-ditch effort to help patients cope with the inevitable.
What roles do volunteers play in home care? Again, they are valuable assets to the families of terminally ill patients. They are valued for their love of living and for their ability to bring joy to their patients’ lives. In fact, some say that they offer “no pain, no gain” services. They make decisions about the care of the patient based on what brings pleasure to the volunteer. They help prepare meals, remove the wastes from the body and help the patient with self-care activities that benefit him or her.
What roles do volunteers play in palliative care? A trained and compassionate volunteer may also be responsible for dealing with emotional issues that arise from the end of life for the patient and his or her family members.
There are many types of volunteering opportunities within hospice. If you are a skilled nurse or certified nurse, an administrator might call on you to help oversee a rehabilitation unit. The responsibilities include preparing meals, assisting in bathing, regulating medication levels in the unit and monitoring vital signs in the patients.
Hospice has a variety of programs for those who wish to give of their time and talents to make the lives of terminally ill patients a little more bearable. Many volunteers are involved with counseling, mentoring and even do mystery shopping for low-income families. They also visit sick families, assist with spiritual support and conduct self-defense training for volunteers. Mental health care is a specialty area that requires plenty of volunteers both at home and away from home.
Hospice offers many religious services each week, including spiritual readings, music and prayer times, as well as volunteering at the soup kitchen. Hospice is a wonderful place to give your time and talents; the service is much more than food preparation! Your skills as a volunteer in any of these areas will be greatly appreciated by the staff of a hospice center.