UC Davis hospice volunteer program
Role of the volunteer
Hospice is a philosophy of care that recognizes death as a natural part of life and seeks neither to prolong nor hasten the dying process. Hospice care involves support for patients and their loved ones. Hospice volunteers are instrumental in providing this much needed support in the following ways:
- Companionship - A volunteer may listen, reassure, share worries and concerns, hold a hand, or just sit quietly. Other activities might include reading, listening to music, playing games, or watching TV or a movie.
- Caregiver relief - The volunteer may stay with the patient during scheduled periods of time when the caregiver needs to be away, help with child care, or spend time with other family members.
- Practical services and errands - The volunteer may assist the patient with grooming, assistance to the commode, adjusting bed and covers, grocery shopping, and pickup of medications and supplies. They may also perform light chores such as changing bedding, doing an occasional load of laundry, or preparing a simple meal for the patient. Other helpful activities might include writing letters and taking telephone messages.
- Spiritual support - If asked, the volunteer may pray with a patient or family, read from inspirational books, play special music, etc. The volunteer may also encourage the patient to communicate his or her faith, fears, or any thoughts or feelings about end of life issues to the hospice chaplain.
- Team and office support - Volunteers are always needed to assist the hospice team in the office and with special projects and events that are key to providing hospice care to the community.
UC Davis Hospice Program is a member of the Sacramento Hospice Consortium, which provides hospice volunteer training throughout the year at different times and locations. This 24-hour long training, which adheres to the standards of the National Hospice Organization, trains volunteers in the following areas:
- The history and philosophy of hospice care
- Concepts of death and dying
- Psychosocial issues in death and dying
- Care and comfort measures with terminal illness
- Spiritual and cultural issues in death, dying and grief
- Communication skills
- Grief and bereavement
- The volunteer role in hospice care
Becoming a volunteer
To find out more about becoming a volunteer with the UC Davis Hospice Program, contact our volunteer coordinator. To learn more about the volunteer training, and to register for the training, go to the training website www.sachospice.org .
Upon completion of the volunteer training program, the UC Davis Hospice volunteer coordinator will provide orientation to the UC Davis Hospice Program. The weekly time commitment is flexible, depending upon your schedule and availability.