Volunteers are an integral part of providing hospice palliative care; offering comfort and support to people and families living with a terminal illness at home, including long-term care, hospital, or hospice.
There are a variety of volunteer roles that are needed including:
- In-Home/Inpatient Visiting Volunteers to support people with life-limiting illness and their families
- Bereavement Volunteers to support people coping with the loss of a loved one
- Event Volunteers to help plan and deliver special events including fundraising events
- Complementary Therapy Volunteers who can offer a variety of therapies to hospice clients
Each organization has its own application process and criteria. All volunteers are provided training to varying degrees. Volunteers that work directly with clients in hospice must complete a minimum 30 hour hospice volunteer training program and pass police background checks before being matched with a client.
Please refer to the list of palliative care services in the region to find the organization closest to you, that may need volunteers. Many of them have application information online, including a list of volunteer roles that are currently open.
The Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program (CHPCP) also works with volunteers on its Board and various Committees, as well offers training and support to our Advance Care Planning Volunteer Community Facilitators. If you are interested in getting involved with the CHPCP, please contact:
Palliative Care Volunteer Training and Resources
BFO regularly offers a 3-day training workshop for bereavement caregivers and 1 hr to ½ day grief education workshops for community groups. Their training programs combine experiential and classroom style learning based on the “companioning” approach to bereavement support.
There are a number of interesting articles for volunteers on the Canadian Virtual Hospice site, as well as information on upcoming palliative care events, conferences and training opportunities.
The Centre for Loss and Life Transitions has information and resources on grief and loss. They also offer a 4-day training program with Dr. Alan Wolfelt in Colorado. His philosophy of Companioning, is the “art of bringing comfort to another by becoming familiar with their story, their experiences, and their needs. These courses are designed to meet the needs of caregivers from a variety of backgrounds, including hospice staff and volunteers, mental health care providers, social workers, clergy, school personnel, funeral directors, nurses and physicians, students, as well as lay people.”