Abington Health’s Hospice Volunteer Program
Hospice is a special kind of care for terminally ill patients and their caregivers. A team of professionals provides care, and volunteers are a critical part of that team. Abington Memorial Hospital's Home Care and Hospice Program has an ongoing need for volunteers to provide support to terminally ill people who want to live their remaining days at home or inpatient unit.
Benefits of Volunteering
Hospice volunteers provide relief to the care givers of hospice patients, helping them handle the physical, emotional and spiritual stress of terminal illness and death. Becoming a hospice volunteer could be the most rewarding experience of your life. Many volunteers learned of hospice through personal use of the services. New volunteers are asked to wait one year following their loss to join the program.
Hospice Volunteer Opportunities
Opportunities to help may be in the patient's home, hospital or nursing home, and may include:
- listening to the concerns of the patient and family
- providing companionship to the patient
- reading to the patient or suggesting other activities
- giving emotional support and reassurance to the patient, caregivers or family
- assisting in a limited capacity with the physical care of the patient
Home Hospice Volunteers
The volunteer's presence in the home can be of great comfort and support to the caregivers, freeing them to do errands and chores or even take time to nurture themselves. This helps relieve the emotionally and physically exhausting demands experienced by the caregivers. The volunteer may also help the patients express their concerns, needs and interests in order to enhance the quality of the remaining days of life.
Inpatient Unit Volunteers
Volunteers provide companionship and emotional support to both patient and their family throughout their hospital stay. They assist the nursing staff in helping to ensure each patient is as comfortable as possible, which includes providing music, and mouth and skin care. It is because of their dedication to meeting patient and family needs that volunteers are a valued presence on the unit.
Bereavement support is offered to help survivors cope with their loss and to facilitate the natural grief process. This support is typically given by telephone for 12 months after the death of a loved one. The first contact is made within two weeks after death and quarterly thereafter, unless more or less frequent contact is requested or recommended.
Giving Hearts Volunteers
Giving Heart volunteers donate their time and skills by crocheting beautiful lap blankets for patients. Other volunteers make decorative hearts, which are placed in the patient's room. Both the blanket and heart make wonderful keepsakes for the family after the patient has died.
Clerical volunteers provide additional office support by answering and making telephone calls, filing, mailings and making up homecare/hospice packets for our program.