By volunteering for only a few hours a week or a month, you can make a difference in the lives of patients and their families. Volunteers are the heart of Serenity, providing an integral dimension of end of life care.
What is Volunteerism?
Volunteerism is the offering of one's time in the service of others; it is a life-changing, personal journey.
Who can volunteer?
Volunteers are working professionals, high school or college students, retired, semi-retired, or even those who are homebound. Volunteers are of varied cultures and backgrounds, or have perhaps experienced hospice care through a friend or relative.
How can I help?
You can make a difference in the lives of patients and their families by providing patient/family visits to provide support and reassurance, or you may choose to help indirectly by running errands or providing regular phone calls from your home. Active listening is the single most valuable tool; it communicates a willingness to hear and understand the other with empathy, while allowing the patient to be heard.
Direct patient support- Visit assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, provide companionship and emotional support to the patient and caregiver, assist patients with arts and crafts projects, or provide supportive calls to offer reassurance
Bereavement support- Provide phone calls to bereaved families, assist with bereavement support meetings
Administrative support- Assist with mail outs, filing, answering phones
Public relations- Organize special community events, such as memorial services and health fairs. Public Relations Volunteers serve as ambassadors to the community
How much time is required of a volunteer?
Any amount of time devoted to the patient or family, whether it is by phone or at the bedside, is a positive experience. Usually, a volunteer spends anywhere from one hour on a visit, to two or three hours, depending on your availability. It is determined entirely by you.
What if my situation changes, and I have less time, or even no time available to volunteer?
A volunteer has his/her own daily responsibilities to family and home, which naturally changes with time. The volunteer need only to decline an assignment until a later time.
How does the request for a volunteer come about?
The family is informed of the availability, but not guarantee, of volunteers when admitted to our service. The caregiver may call with a request, or the nurse may report the need for a volunteer at the weekly team meeting.
Will I have to travel any distance from home?
The request will be in your general area, and one which is suitable for you.
Volunteering is a personal journey for everyone. For some, it is to gain valuable insight, knowledge and experience in the healthcare industry, or perhaps for the development of interpersonal skills and a satisfying personal or professional relationship. For many, it is a spiritual awakening.
The impact on volunteerism in your life may yet be discovered.
Mitzi is a retired nurse who serves patients and their families in homes, nursing homes and living centers throughout the greater metropolitan area. She is generous with her time, providing companionship and assistance to those in need. True to her nature, she discourages acknowledgment or recognition for years of volunteer service, preferring instead, to work quietly in the background.
Mitzi represents the true spirit of charity.
Paula is a working professional who visits nursing homes on the West bank, as well as in the Metairie area. Paula occasionally brings her children for visits to introduce them to community service.
“It is important to show children by example.”
Paula helps when her work and children’s school schedule permits, and remains active with the interdisciplinary team. Having had a first-hand experience with a family member, Paula recognizes the deepest need of the patient and works to deepen the bond between herself and those in her care.
Paula continues to be a reassuring presence in her patient’s lives.
Judith is an integral part of the hospice team bringing with her experience in the healthcare industry. Judith takes on the volunteer role in the West bank nursing homes, regularly seeing patients and lovingly tending to their needs.
“I originally worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home which was rewarding, but eventually it became too stressful for my back and knees. I missed seeing those patients! To see the recognition in their faces….they know they recognize you for some reason- and then their face lights up! The familiarity is there.
Volunteerism is different compared to custodial care. There is nothing like it!”
Judith is active in the volunteer department, participating in the Volunteer Orientation/Training sessions to encourage new volunteers. She remains active with the interdisciplinary team, and is committed to quality care.
Judith is an advocate for each of her patients. She lends a watchful eye, while assisting families in the process.
Lydia is a young student who assists in the office with phones and filing, an extraordinary undertaking in a busy office. Lydia’s mother has been a treasured employee of the agency for many years, and Lydia is no stranger to the team.
“I enjoy learning, I need the experience -and- I like to work
with everyone here… it’s like a family!”
Get started today:
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, call Terry Fedoroff, Volunteer Coordinator, at (504)366-3996, or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.