Do I need any special skills or education?

Volunteer work at Hospice is one of the best jobs anyone can do. It's not about where you live, how old you are, your educational background, or what you have or don't have. We provide the training; you provide your time.

What kind of training is required?

All volunteers complete a comprehensive training and personal enrichment course. The number of classes you need to take is determined by your choice of volunteer opportunities.

Do I need to have a medical background or provide physical care to patients?

No. Most volunteers provide support by acting as a professional friend, doing the kinds of things you would do to help your best friend if someone in their family was seriously ill. RN's or LPN's currently registered and licensed in New York State may volunteer to provide personal care to patients.

Do volunteers find the work depressing?

It is not depressing, although it's sometimes sad. Hospice volunteers have jobs that are full of joy and laughter, hope and sharing. This work is deeply meaningful, because the gift of presence is the greatest gift we can give to another.

What if a medical emergency arises?

Usually there's adequate warning if difficult medical situations arise. All patient/family volunteers are given instruction for emergency situations. There is a Hospice & Palliative Care Registered Nurse available by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for guidance and support.

I am afraid I will say the wrong thing to a dying patient. How do you talk to someone who is dying?

You talk to a Hospice patient the same way you talk with anyone else-with warmth, compassion, caring, and friendship. Hospice focuses on living each moment to the fullest. Patients want to talk about life, families, sports, and current events just like you do. In volunteer training, you will learn that it's more important to listen than to talk.

What if the intensity of working with patients and their families is not the right fit for me? Can I still help?

Yes! You can support our work in many ways. Everyone's contribution is important to a smooth running organization.

Am I required to volunteer a certain number of hours?

No. We recognize that your time is a valuable gift. How much time you want to give and how often is up to you. The only thing we ask is that you always follow through when you've agreed to do something, or let us know immediately if an emergency has arisen that prevents you from completing your volunteer job. Volunteer work at Hospice & Palliative Care is never "make work" or "busy work". Once you have accepted a job, we're counting on you.

If I am uncomfortable with an assignment, can I ask for a new one?

Absolutely. We want your volunteer experience to be a good one. Our Volunteer Coordinators are expert at finding the right volunteer job for you.

How far do I have to travel?

You only need to accept those assignments that fit your interest, the time you have available, and are at comfortable distances from your home or place of employment.