Friday, October 16, 2009

Hospice Volunteer Research: How? What? Why?

How do hospice volunteers learn about hospice volunteer opportunities?

What motivates them to start volunteering?

Why do they continue to volunteer?

These are open-ended questions that researchers at the University of Utah Department of Communication asked 351 hospice volunteers from 3 states. The following are the research findings:

1) Volunteers heard of opportunities through hospice and healthcare contacts, personal contacts, print and electronic sources, and other nonhospice organizations.

2) Volunteers were motivated mainly to be of service to others and because of a personal experience with the death of someone close.

3) The majority of volunteers continued to serve because they found it personally rewarding, wanted to help others, or both. Many continued because of the quality of their own hospice organization and staff members. Demographic influences were small.

These research results are particularly important to volunteer coordinators in recruiting and maintaining a productive volunteer staff. My video poem “Reflections of a Hospice Volunteer” expresses the win-win experiences of many volunteers:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
“Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog”

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