Volunteers are essential to nonprofit organizations like CHP, filling roles that range from direct contact with patients to providing clerical and fundraising support for the organization. They are especially important in hospice care.
Hospices that take part in Medicare are required to use volunteers along with paid clinical and administrative staff. Hospice volunteers describe their work as gratifying and emotionally meaningful.
You should contact your local CHP office for details on their specific needs, but some of the opportunities available for hospice volunteers include:
- Support for patients. This can include visiting, reading, taking walks, writing letters, and bringing in music.
- Respite and support for family members. Volunteers allow family caregivers the opportunity to take care of necessary errands, or simply have some time alone. Volunteers can also help care for a family pet.
- Bereavement support programs. Hospice volunteers can support bereavement staff by assisting with a support group, serving refreshments, or helping with mailings to families.
- Fundraising and clerical work. A volunteer can serve by helping in the office with administrative duties. Fundraising responsibilities can range from preparing mailings or thank-you letters to helping organize fundraising events and contacting potential donors.
- Special skills and interests.CHP sometimes utilizes volunteers to trim bushes, renew landscaping, or wash windows. Notaries, barbers and beauticians can volunteer their services to patients. Musicians can volunteer to play at hospice inpatient facilities.
CHP Hospice requires prospective volunteers to submit to a background check. To prepare volunteers for the challenge of working with the dying, CHP requires them to complete extensive orientation and training sessions. Volunteers also must have a valid driver’s license, particularly if the volunteer will be traveling to patient homes.
It is common for people whose loved one died in hospice care to want to volunteer for hospice, but anyone with a compassionate heart can become a volunteer. Minimum age for volunteers is 18, but occasional opportunities arise for high school students. Call your local CHP office to learn about opportunities in your area.