Hospice care is based on a family-centered holistic approach to caring for dying patients and death with dignity. The rapid growth of the hospice movement over the years was in response to dissatisfaction with the care of the terminally ill and demands for death with dignity. Public support for hospice was so strong that just 8 years after the first hospice was founded, it became a benefit under Medicare; written into the law and signed by President Ronald Reagan.
The Medicare law included a requirement that community volunteers had to provide a minimum of 5 percent of total patient care hours. It’s this volunteer requirement that makes hospice care unique in the healthcare industry.
Beyond being a requirement, or a law, hospice volunteers provide a kind of caring that is unlike the type of care provided by the patients medical team, or the type of care provided by family members. While hospice volunteers often develop a special bond with the patients, they are also trained how to deal with the emotional toll of loss and are a source of comfort to the family members both during and after hospice care.
At Hospice of the North Coast, our volunteers play a vital role on the hospice team, filling needs that range from direct contact with patients to providing office and fundraising support for our organization. Hospice of the North Coast requires a lot from our volunteers and we greatly value their participation. Hospice volunteers describe their role as emotionally meaningful and deeply gratifying. Volunteering is not “what they do,” it’s not a once-a-year thing, it’s who they are at the very core of their being.
We cannot emphasis enough how much we value our community volunteers. Volunteers help provide a feeling of normality for patients, as well as their families, during a time when nothing in their lives seems “normal.” Often times our volunteers are the ones able to connect with patients on a deeper level as a patient may not want to confide in a family member out of concern for their loved one, or perhaps a feeling of not wanting to burden them with conversations that may be “too sad” to talk about with them. It is often the connections our volunteers have with our hospice patients that the medical team gains insight into the overall impact of the treatments they provide and level of comfort the patient is receiving.
Hospice of the North Coast volunteers provide comfort, peace, and care to patients, caregivers, and families during the end of life. Our volunteers greatly impact the quality of life our patients have as they live out their final days in this world. The lives of the patients that they serve, the hospice team of which they are a part, and the families and friends depending on their compassionate care.
Learn more about our Volunteer program and the types of volunteer positions. Please contact us if you have any questions, or if you would like to start volunteering today!