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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hospice-Palliative Care Volunteers: Why Families Like Them (Research, Video)


You’re a hospice-palliative care volunteer. You were drawn to serve patients and their families during  journeys of terminal illness. You do your best, always hoping you have fulfilled their needs. Best of all, many seem to appreciate your being a part of their lives.

What is it about hospice-palliative care volunteers that makes them appealing to families? Researchers at Mount Allison University in Canada asked this same question and went straight to family members for answers. A survey of 22 family members whose deceased loved ones had used the services of a hospice-palliative care volunteer reported these results in order of importance:
1)   Opportunity to take a much-needed break from the demands of caring for their loved one
2)   Emotional support
3)   Shared time with the volunteer
4)   Information provided by the volunteer
Family members were satisfied with volunteers and rated them highly. The majority of families (85%) rated their volunteers as well trained. In addition, family members (95%) did not feel that volunteers had invaded their privacy or patients’ privacy. Sounds like lots of volunteers are successful at fulfilling many patient and family needs through service. This video poem expresses the win-win experiences of many hospice-palliative care volunteers:


Frances Shani Parker, Author