Thursday, March 24, 2011

Building a Successful Hospice Volunteer Program

The Hospice Foundation of America has developed “Hospice Volunteers: Recruiting, Retaining, Rewarding,” a free online webinar that examines the important role that volunteers play in hospice, and explores creative ways that hospices can recruit and retain volunteers.
Volunteers have always been an essential component of hospice care. As Lisa McGahey Veglahn, Program Officer at HFA, points out, “The hospice movement in the U.S. was started by volunteers-- people who wanted to help bring comfort, dignity and support to the patients and families who were affected by life- limiting illness.” More than 460 thousand hospice volunteers now deliver more than 20 million hours of service annually to patients and their families.

HFA’s new free online webinar was developed by Robin Fiorelli, LCSW, Senior Director of Bereavement and Volunteer Services for VITAS Healthcare Corporation. The program includes tips and ideas from professional hospice volunteer coordinators, as well as personal insights from hospice volunteers. The program, plus additional resources and Fact Sheets, can be used as for volunteer recruiting and training purposes at no charge. Free Continuing Education credits are available for a wide range of professionals.

This program is part of HFA's Hospice Information Center, an extensive online library that also includes programs such as Understanding Hospice, Family Caregiving, Understanding Grief, and End-of-Life Challenges facing the LGBT Community. The programming provides hospices and other community organizations the opportunity to educate staff and volunteers about the basics of hospice care, caregiving, and grief, and links are provided to guide viewers to more information on a variety of subjects. Other resources are available for consumers, to help family and friends learn about hospice and how it can help people cope with some of life’s most challenging situations, in a format that is accessible and understandable. Resources are also available in Spanish and Chinese.