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, changing bedding, doing an occasional load of laundry, or preparing a simple meal. Volunteers may do grocery shopping or other errands for the patient. Other helpful activities might include writing letters or 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.
The UC Davis Hospice program requires all volunteers to complete training prior to working with our patients. Hospice volunteer training includes the following:
- 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.
Training may be completed directly through UC Davis Hospice or through the Sacramento Hospice Consortium.
- UC Davis: Volunteer coordinator will enroll you in an online training program through www.doingdeathdifferently.com. This online training takes approximately 12 hours to complete, but is self-paced and flexible.
- Sacramento Hospice Consortium (SHC): UC Davis Hospice is a member of SHC, which provides local volunteer training and education, community relations, and peer support. SHC offers an in-person 18-hour training program for those who would prefer this learning experience. SHC also provides online training with supportive programs to enhance the learning experience and help prepare volunteers for their role in hospice.
Becoming a Volunteer
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.