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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are volunteers so important at Hospice Family Care™?

Hospice Family Care™ volunteers are an integral part of the hospice team. Volunteers provide clients, caregivers and family members with physical and emotional support during this important and stressful time. Care giving for a terminally-ill loved one can be exhausting. Volunteers assist the caregiver by providing opportunities to get away for a needed break.  Volunteers also support the clinical and administrative tasks of the organization to ensure our services continue and improve.  Click "Volunteers" on the left side of this page, to see a summary of the 16 different volunteer opportunities.

How long is the training?

Volunteers are required to attend Hospice Volunteer training to ensure you have the comfort level and skill set to be effective in your role. The training can range from 1 to 10 hours (some of which can be done online).  The more direct contact you'll have the more training you'll need. The complete training is suggested for everyone so you will have an overall understanding of the hospice philosophy and Hospice Family Care™.  This training is very marketable for resumes, college applications, and professional development.

What is covered in the training?

During training, the volunteer will receive instruction in the roles of the hospice team members. Team members include the patient’s physician, hospice physician, nurse, social worker, spiritual care counselor, home health aide, grief support counselor, along with the trained volunteers. The role of the volunteer will be discussed and explained so that each individual can make their own decision about what kind of volunteer work they would like to provide.

Do I have to go through the whole training if I am not interested in working directly with patients, but would rather donate my time to assist with administrative work?

People interested in doing only administrative volunteering can complete a shortened online training, followed by on-the-job training, but we do suggest that everyone go through the entire training process to fully understanding the hospice philosophy. This extra training not only provides volunteers with better understanding of how patients are treated, it also ensures that if they ever decide to do patient care, they can begin immediately.

Other than direct client care, how else may I be of service as a Hospice volunteer?

Hospice Family Care™ has a need for volunteers to work in our office, help with fundraisers, perform duties as facilitators in The Caring House, assist with our marketing and mailing efforts, assist with grief support groups, do public speaking, or to offer special skills that may benefit our organization and clients, such as computer skills, sewing, home improvements or hair styling.
Click "Volunteers" on the left side of this page, to see a summary of the 16 different volunteer opportunities. 

How much volunteer time will I be obligated to give after training?

It all depends on the needs of our teams and the availability of the volunteer. Volunteer services are flexible enough to work around most schedules. You decide on the hours you are willing and able to give. Rather than requiring a specific amount of time per week/month, we work with volunteers to build their service comfortably into their routines. You learn a great deal in training, making you an asset to our community. For this, we encourage volunteers to commit to serving at least 6 months. We encourage this to ensure you are able to utilize all that you learn about hospice in a way that is meaningful to you, but also to ensure continuity of care for our patients. We try not to assign more than one volunteer per family to help foster that supportive relationship.

Do I ever have to take care of a patient’s physical needs?

Our volunteers tell us what they are willing to do or not do when it comes to patient care. We want our volunteers to be comfortable and confident when it comes to the interaction and care of our patients. Each volunteer will decide with the assistance of the Volunteer Coordinator what tasks will work best for them. You may be able to assist with some physical needs with after proper training, like meal assistance, but volunteers are not expected to provide physical care. The focus is on social, emotional, and intellectual care.
Volunteers are not permitted to handle or administer medications of any kind, including oxygen.

As a new volunteer, what kind of support will be available to me?

The Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for training, supervising, supporting and scheduling volunteers.  There are volunteer group meetings ("volunteer coffee hours"), educational in-services, phone calls, newsletters and more to keep you connected. All designed to gradually build comfort levels and confidence. With experience, many volunteers become mentors to new volunteers. The rest of the Hospice Family Care staff is also available to the volunteer by phone or in the office.

What type of environment will I be working in?

Hospice Family Care serves patients in their private home setting, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, group homes, and now in our in-patient hospice facility. Wherever one calls home is where we go. For those volunteers sharing their administrative skills, rather than interacting with patients, they will work out of the HFC office at 10000 Serenity Lane Huntsville, AL 35803.