Hospice volunteers are compassionate community members who want to make a difference in the lives of people who are approaching the end of life, and their families. They are essential to the care provided each day. Whether they are helping families, visiting patients, participating in special events, or assisting with administrative tasks, each minute of time contributes greatly to the quality of life for the patients and families we serve.
Volunteering is flexible based the amount of time in your schedule and assignments can be made according to the area of the county you live. Volunteers are never asked to do something they are uncomfortable with. Ongoing training and support is provided by Hospice’s Volunteer Manager to ensure the volunteer has the tools needed to effectively serve the patient and family and has a truly rewarding experience.
Qualities of a hospice volunteer:
- Emotional Stability
- Good listening skills
- Adequate resolution of past losses
* It is recommended those interested in volunteering wait a minimum of one year following the death of a loved one before volunteering with hospice.
There are a variety of opportunities to volunteer at Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley:
Direct Care Volunteers – Like many members of the Hospice staff, volunteers in this role are welcomed into the patient and family’s home at a very tender time. It’s a period of closure and a time of reflection. Volunteers are an invaluable part of our interdisciplinary team and may assist the patient with companionship, give caregivers a much needed break, prepare meals and simply listen. Hospice Volunteers provide an atmosphere of warmth and understanding for the family during a critical time.
As a Direct Care Volunteer other assignments may include:
- Reading to a patient
- Provide relief for a caregiver
- Running errands or taking a patient on an outing
- Letter writing
- Sharing hobbies or special interests
- Other tasks that help the patient and/or family
“Although, I am taking time out of my life to spend with my patients, they are giving me so much more than I could ever give them”
~ Hospice Direct Patient Volunteer
How do I become a Hospice Volunteer?
Becoming a direct care volunteer is easy! In order to see patients, volunteers are required to complete a 12 hour training course in addition to online learning modules. To ensure a good match with a patient and family, the Volunteer Manager will get to know prospective volunteers through a brief phone interview. Once the training is completed, paperwork is processed and a final interview with the Volunteer Manager takes place volunteers will go out on their first assignment with a mentor.
Get the process started by completing the Preregistration Form and returning it to:
Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley
Attn: Linda Caamaño
6805 US Highway 11
Potsdam, NY 13676
Indirect Service – Patient care is not the only way to contribute. If you are interested in volunteering but don’t see yourself working with patients, hospice will gladly find ways to use your unique talents.
Other volunteer opportunities could include things like:
- Clerical projects
- Helping with grief support groups
- Sharing your experience with Hospice in the community
- Working on bulk mailing projects
- Volunteering at special events
Community members with a special talent or project in mind are invited to contact Hospice to make suggestions. The volunteer program is focused on meeting the needs of the patients and families served by Hospice, as well as creating a fulfilling experience for those interested in giving their time.
Mary Ann Cateforis delivers bouquets for patients most Wednesdays during the summer months.
College Volunteers – Hospice’s unique placement between four college campuses allows for the opportunity for college age men and women to offer their time to help others. Young adults can offer a special energy and perspective to the patients and families. College students can be trained as direct patient volunteers. We have also had them assist in a number of ways including:
- Maintenance on the Brian Gardam Tranquility Trail
- Creating healing stones
- Putting together coloring books for children
- Volunteering for special events
- Organizing fundraisers
Youth Volunteers – Hospice also offers a unique opportunity for youth in our community to donate their time to special events and projects.
For more information on volunteering at Hospice, contact the Volunteer Manager, Linda Caamaño at 315-265-3105.