Friday, January 21, 2011

Hospice Volunteers and Family Bereavement (Research, Video 5:41)

Even after patients have died, the impact of hospice volunteers continues. Volunteers can play an important role in the bereavement of family members and the ratings of their loved ones’ quality end-of-life care. A study at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University highlights the importance of volunteers in bereaved family members’ higher overall satisfaction with hospice services.

Using an analysis of the number of volunteer hours used in direct patient care and the total number of patient days served, researchers surveyed 305 hospice programs (67% freestanding and 20.7% for profit). A total of 57,353 surveys were submitted. Hospice programs with the greatest usage of volunteers had higher overall ratings of quality care. These programs with higher use of volunteers per patient day were associated with bereaved family members’ reports that the hospice programs quality of care was excellent. Research results such as this confirm the major contributions hospice volunteers make in improving quality end-of-life-care and bereavement.

This video showcases The Community Hospice, the largest hospice program in New York and one of the nation’s largest non-profit hospice programs. Grief and bereavement programs there service everyone, regardless of whether the person who died was a hospice patient:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.

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