Ways you can volunteer with Hospice of the Northwest
Due to WA State Health Department regulations, Patient/Family Volunteers MAY NOT provide personal or medical care, dispense medications, transport, lift or transfer patients, assist with walking or toileting, or pick up individuals who have fallen. Volunteers MAY NOT visit families or caregivers after the patient has died.
Offer support and companionship to dying patients and their families or caregivers. Volunteers serve as friendly visitors and/or provide respite care while loved ones shop or run errands. They listen to stories, share experiences, read aloud, play cards, watch movies, help with letter writing, record memories, assist with chores and more. Volunteers find this work to be truly meaningful. Companionship visits are generally 1-2 hours weekly; respite visits are usually 3-4 hrs/weekly.
Make weekly phone calls to insure that patients living in private residences are comfortable and have sufficient medications, equipment and supplies to last through the upcoming weekend. Calls are made Thursday mornings between 9-11 a.m., which gives Hospice staff time to insure issues are resolved before the weekend. This is a weekly commitment although substitutes are needed periodically.
Sit with patients during the last 24 – 48 hours of life, providing comfort, reassurance and solace. They also offer support to families and caregivers. Sitting at the bedside or being in the home of a dying patient is a very private and intimate time. Vigil volunteers are privileged to be invited to share in this experience. Vigil volunteers complete Patient/Family volunteer training and a short Vigil Training. They complete a 3 – 4 hour shift (as available) one or more times during vigils. Vigil activities may include gentle touch, lighting candles, playing soft music, sharing comforting words, or sitting in silence.
The approach is simple, elegant and effective: We train care professionals how to set up personalized music playlists, delivered on iPods and other digital devices, for those in their care. These musical favorites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring participants back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize and stay present. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please check out the “ALIVE INSIDE” DVD from our Resource Library. (Music and Memory®)
Volunteers maintain the Resource Library in our lobby. This library contains over 1200+ books, as well as, DVD’s about death, dying, grief and spirituality. These volunteers come in weekly for about 2 hours. To view our online library visit: Hospice of the Northwest Resource Library
This online version of our library is graciously set up by the City of Burlington Public Library.
Provide follow-up phone calls to individuals discharged from Hospice services and those not taken for care (due to not meeting eligibility requirements). Will ask questions to determine whether patient now meets admission criteria. Coordinates with Referral Center staff.
Volunteers who are veterans are preferred for this position. Volunteer will spearhead efforts to recognize Hospice patients who are veterans. Will keep current with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s We Honor Veterans Program. If available, accepts the assignments of patients who are veterans.
These special Volunteers coordinate with licensed therapy animal and handler teams providing comforting visits to HNW patients. Each Team is trained and evaluated to ensure patient safety. Positive human-animal interactions have been shown to improve the physical, emotional and psychological lives of those served. It has been demonstrated that therapy animal visits can lower blood pressure, anxiety, stress levels and stimulate the release of endorphins.
Hospice of the Northwest was accepted into the Pet Peace of Mind® national program in fall of 2018. These volunteers are trained to go into patients homes and care for, play with, and potentially walk dogs and/or cats. In addition, volunteers will assist patients in writing the re-homing agreement for their animal(s).
Administrative and office volunteers may assist with typing, data entry, photocopying, scanning, assembling booklets, medical records filing, mailings, and special projects. They serve weekly, monthly, or as needed. Assemble patient admit packets, informational visit packets and outreach & education materials.
Hospice volunteers sew “butterfly” pillows, “busy mats” and “marble rolls” for patients. This can be done at home at one’s convenience. Fabric and notions provided. Volunteers can also sew hospital gowns and catheter bag covers for patients – Click here for patterns!
These volunteers utilize compassionate listening skills while making condolence and anniversary phone calls to loved ones. In addition, they can prepare bereavement packets, write condolence cards and help with support group facilitation.