Friday, February 18, 2011

Hospice-Palliative Volunteers: Ranking and Rating Services (Research, Video 2:05)

Denver Hospice Volunteer Training Class

Imagine you were recently diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Would you want a hospice-palliative care volunteer to join this journey with you and your family? More and more adults see the value in this decision. Their concern centers around, not only the services they will receive, but also the benefits their families can reap at this critical time. Mount Alison University researchers familiarized 143 adults with the services of volunteers and asked them to simply imagine having a terminal illness. The vast majority (94.4%) wanted volunteer support.

Hospice-palliative volunteers provide many services that can be categorized as emotional, social, practical, informational, and religious/spiritual. When these groupings were narrowed down to 23 specific volunteer tasks and presented to research participants for ranking, they chose practical support most. Practical support includes tasks such as running errands, writing letters, feeding, and grooming. Gender differences in participants’ emotional and social support preferences were significant, with women rating them more important than men did. Emotional support includes holding hands, playing music, saying words of comfort. Social support includes tasks such as sharing hobbies, pushing wheelchairs, and participating in recreational activities.

In this video, Annie, a Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteer, shares her experience
in providing supportive visits to patients and families.

Frances Shani Parker, Author

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