Five Traits to Being a Great Hospice Volunteer

| By Jodi Horton

Hospice volunteers are an important part of the hospice care team, offering companionship and support to our dying patients. Listed here are five traits we look for in all of our hospice volunteers.

An engaged heart – We have one chance to serve our patients. Simply going through the motions specifically for one’s personal needs, like completing a special project or crossing a task off a list, will not suffice. The heart must truly be engaged with the sincere and genuine desire to serve others.

Flexibility – Things happen quickly on hospice, and there are no crystal balls to help us determine the future. Our volunteers must be able to “go with the flow” when things don’t play out exactly as they had thought or hoped that they would. The anticipation of a new assignment or a visit on a particular day can change in a heartbeat.

Communication –An awareness of one’s own communication style is critical. Some patients love to visit; others need to sit in stillness and be quiet. Our volunteers need to be comfortable in either situation. They need to know when to talk and when to listen and always allow the patient to direct a visit. Communicating with other hospice team members on a regular basis is important.

Commitment – Our patients come to rely on and enjoy weekly visits from our volunteers. Life has many twists and turns and can be busy at times. The volunteer must be able to commit 1-2 hours per week to their volunteering. A commitment based on faith and trust in our organization is a must. The volunteer’s commitment is a part of the hospice’s greater promise to provide a patient and their loved ones with superior care.

Being agenda free – Visits are about the patients and not about one’s own self. It is important that our volunteers keep themselves “in check” before walking through the patient’s doorway. The things that we value most can be considered agendas when we feel the need to impose them on others. Allowing the patient to lead every visit serves the patient best and allows them to maintain a sense of comfort, dignity, and harmony.

Submit a volunteer application online today! If you would like to learn more about our volunteer program, contact our office at (520) 544-9890.


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