People often become hospice volunteers because they are moved by the compassionate care their loved ones received and they want to give back through volunteering. Volunteering allows them to contribute, be part of a good cause, and make their community a better place.
Even with our bustling daily schedules, it is still so beneficial to take a few moments to give back. There are people who have a desire to help others. They empathize and offer a bit of companionship to a few lonely soles who have little to no family remaining, and bring a sense of self-worth back into the lives of patients who feel the guilt and burden of complete dependency. They don't do this for recognition of their good deeds or in hopes of gaining a good samaritan award. Rather, they do this because they truly cherish the feeling of being appreciated and welcomed the moment they walk into the room. These people feel the unseen tension disipate when a patient realizes a smiling face has entered, not someone paid to be there who rushes and pokes and prods. Patients appreciate someone who genuinly wants their company, and quickly build trust and friendships, which are incredibly meaningful and cherished in their final years. These people share stories, some good belly laughs, and oftentimes many tears of past mistakes and regrets. They are the sprinkle on top, and we call those special people volunteers.
At Hummingbird Hospice, our volunteers know that giving back to family, friends, and the community matters. Volunteering gives them a sense of fulfillment and they feel blessed to take away more than they give!
No matter who you are, what you’re like, how old you are, how much education you have, or how much time you have to share, there is a volunteer experience that will excite your interests and match your skills to meaningful service in our community.
Here are some benefits of volunteering:
It’s a great way to make new friends. Meeting and working with others engaged in a shared mission is a great way to meet others and feel part of something good!
It’s a proven way to learn new skills, build confidence, and develop professional connections. Your volunteer experiences are great resume builders. One study shows that 94% of employees who volunteered said that learning new skills helped them get their job.
It’s good for your mental and physical health. In addition to relieving stress, volunteering can improve a person’s sense of well-being, decrease insomnia, build a stronger immune system, and help speed recovery. Researchers talk of “helpers’ high” – a feeling of well-being that occurs when you are doing good for others.
The Process to Become a Hospice Volunteer
At Hummingbird Hospice, you will need to follow several steps to become a hospice volunteer. Parts of the process vary with the type of volunteer position you seek.
These requirements are designed to ensure a positive experience for everyone: volunteers, patients and families, HBH staff, and other supporters.
If you’ve recently had a significant loss, Hummingbird Hospice requires that you wait a year before you start volunteering.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Hummingbird Hospice process to become a hospice volunteer:
If you’re thinking about volunteering, the first step is to attend a Volunteer Orientation. This informative one-hour presentation gives an overview of HBH and its volunteer opportunities. The session will help you decide which options may be right for you, based on your interests and preferences. You will also learn Hummingbird’s volunteer training requirements and how to start the volunteer application process. Orientations are held monthly via Zoom conference.
For dates and times, please contact Heather Lackey at (210) 727-3513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next step is to complete and return the volunteer application, which you will receive during orientation. Once HBH receives your completed application, a representative will email you regarding the next steps, based on your volunteer interests.
Background check and references. These are required for some, but not all, volunteer positions. See “Volunteer Opportunities & Requirements” below for more details.
Register for appropriate training. Depending on the volunteer position, you will need to register for any required training through HBH.
Complete training and any required medical clearance. Certain volunteer positions require medical clearance, in addition to training.
Notification of completed requirements and any next steps. HBH will let you know once your volunteer requirements are completed, and alert you to any additional steps needed to become a volunteer.
Volunteer scheduled/assigned. HBH will notify you of your first volunteer assignment(s) and/or schedule.
Opportunities & Requirements to Become a Hospice Volunteer
Here’s a look at Hummingbird’s many volunteer positions.
||Hummingbird Hospice does not require training, references, or background checks to become a hospice volunteer in the following positions. ||
Event volunteers assist with planning, setting up, organizing, marketing, and hosting dynamic events to raise awareness as well as donations through our non-profit partnered organization, Wings of Hope. Events are held monthly.
This program is for high school students, ages 14 to 18, who want to support HBH patients and families on an ongoing basis. Young adults offer a helping hand through visits, projects, and participation in annual events. Prospective teens must submit a Youth Application.
For teens needing service hours, we do have independent projects such as collection drives, crafts, office assistance, and fundraisers through Wings of Hope.
This opportunity is for those wanting to give back, but have a difficult schedule or inability to leave the house. Remote opportunities include writing blogs, updating social media accounts, creating marketing advertisements, phone or email correspondence, and fundraising through donation requests for Wings of Hope.
|| Hummingbird Hospice requires references and background checks to become a hospice volunteer in the following positions. ||
Administrative Staff Administrative volunteers have a variety of opportunities within the HBH office in San Antonio. Administrative volunteers answer phones and direct calls, provide clerical assistance, general office work including typing, filing, faxing, preparing printed materials, and data entry that support patient and family services. These volunteers support a specific department, such as Medical Records, Marketing, Human Resources, and the like, for 2 – 4 hours a week. Available hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Scheduling is flexible, and shifts are available 5 days a week.
Hummingbird trains Administrative Volunteers in a 3-hour session. Training includes an overview of HBH, infection control, safety, procedures, and a tour of the office.
Bereavement Phone Caller
These volunteers call people who have recently experienced a loss and remind them that HBH is still there to help if they need us. Callers work from home, and the position requires 2 – 4 hours a month.
HBH provides a 2½-hour training session that includes understanding grief and loss, coping, and “red flags” (signs the bereaved person needs professional help, and how to address that need).
|| Hummingbird Hospice requires medical clearance, in addition to references and background checks, to become a hospice volunteer in the following positions. ||
Proof of Covid-19 Vaccine – Required prior to volunteering per Medicare guidelines.
Patient/Family Support Volunteer
The volunteer provides companionship to the patient and family, and/or caregiver relief, 2 – 4 hours weekly in patients’ homes, assisted living centers, or nursing homes.
Patient/Family Support volunteers serve as caring friends for chatting or sharing activities — such as watching TV together, playing games, listening to music, or reading. Training consists of five 3-hour sessions with an experienced HBH nurse. It includes an overview of HBH and its services, volunteer duties and responsibilities, infection control, communication, dynamics of death and dying, and bereavement.
Veterans often appreciate contact with another vet or active-duty service member – someone who can personally relate to their life in the military. These volunteers share service stories and experiences. They help secure lost medals and assist with recognition ceremonies. They may record the veteran’s stories to preserve in the Library of Congress or for the family’s legacy.
HBH provides patient/family support training so volunteers feel comfortable and prepared to assist their fellow vets.
Specialty Patient Program Volunteer
HBH offers the following 3 volunteer programs:
Gift of a Day - This program involves the work of HBH staff, volunteers, patients, families and friends, local businesses, and donations through Wings of Hope to provide the perfect day for each patient. Together, we attempt to offer one last wish or fulfill a final bucket list item specifically tailored to the patient's request.
Tuck-in - Volunteers visit HBH patients every Friday to retrieve any last requests and ensure each patient has all their needs met prior to the weekend. They have the opportunity to sit and visit, drop off supplies, bring special snacks, and check to make sure medications and medical necessities are all fulfilled so the patients are "tucked-in" and comfortable throughout the weekend.
Take Flight - The delicate position is emotionally and mentally heavy, yet incredibly helpful to caregivers and families. Take Flight volunteers offer around-the-clock supportive service during the patient's final 24-48 hours of life. They may remain by the bedside to offer comfort to patients while providing relief to the caregivers or loved ones during this most difficult transition. Companionship and support immediately following a loss are crucial to many family members. Volunteers will assist with contacting HBH and informing the assigned nurse of the passing. Take Flight volunteers offer a beautiful, final gift of peace and solace to patients and families.
Take Flight volunteers must first serve as Patient/Family Support volunteers for at least 6 months and complete advanced training.
Pet Therapy Volunteer
These volunteers bring their certified therapy dogs to visit patients each week in their assisted living facility, nursing home, or personal residence. Your dog must be certified by a therapy organization such as the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and you must provide your pet’s shot history paperwork. Pet therapy volunteers must attend the Patient/Family Support volunteer training (described above).
You can share the gift of music in HBH partnered patients’ assisted living facilities or nursing homes, through performance and musical interaction. Volunteer performers represent HBH at care facilities.
Training consists of a 2½-hour session, which includes an overview, volunteer duties, and responsibilities, infection control, and safety.
If you have questions about how to become a hospice volunteer, please call Heather Lackey at (210) 727-3513 or email email@example.com