Hospice Volunteer Services
“Volunteering in hospice has made me grateful for even the small things in my life." ~ EvergreenHealth Hospice Volunteer
As a volunteer, you are an integral member of the hospice care team and help support patients and their families at the hospice care center in Kirkland or in their homes throughout King and Snohomish Counties.
What would I do as a hospice volunteer?
It’s the simple act of just showing up that can make a difference. You might hold a hand, watch television, listen to music or sing old songs, cook a meal, do some light housekeeping, listen to someone’s life story, run errands, go for a walk or wheelchair stroll or give an exhausted caregiver a short break.
Volunteers are trained and supported by the volunteer coordinators and the hospice team.
What qualities do we look for in a hospice volunteer?
- A caring and compassionate heart
- A willingness to listen without judgment
What is the time commitment?
We ask that volunteers sign a one year agreement stating that you will be available to provide an average of 2-4 hours a week. This will be based on your schedule and on patient and family needs.
What volunteer opportunities do we offer?
Patient care volunteers
You would provide companionship, along with practical, emotional and spiritual support to patients. You might also provide a respite for the caregivers.
Care is provided wherever the patient lives – which could be in patients' private home, a retirement home, an adult family home, a skilled nursing facility or our inpatient hospice center.
You can pick which areas of King and Snohomish counties you would like to serve.
You would be the friendly, welcoming face as each guest, patient and staff member enters the hospice center.
You would greet and assist guests and families who arrive to visit patients or to attend a meeting. You might conduct tours of the facility.
Above all, you would be available to provide a compassionate presence and a listening ear.
Massage is the most requested form of comfort therapies at EvergreenHealth Hospice. Many patients spend a good part of their days immobile in a recliner or bed and become contracted and stiff; some even develop severe, painful contractures, all which may benefit from massage therapy.
You must have appropriate education and licensure to provide massage to our hospice patients.
In addition to massage, we provide approved conventional and complementary comfort therapies for hospice patients.
All therapies are based on quality of life and work towards reducing pain and anxiety, as well as increasing comfort.
You must have the appropriate education, certification or licensure upon starting volunteer service.
Comfort therapies include:
- reiki and other energy-based therapies
- hair stylist
You would make weekly phone calls to check on hospice patients and their caregivers, make sure pain and symptoms are under control, and make sure they have everything they need for the weekend.
You would then follow specific procedures to notify team members so that any patient needs can be addressed.
Phone volunteers work a 2-4 hour shift making phone calls.
If you'd like to support hospice care, but aren't comfortable working with patients, you can help in the office.
We need reliable, detail-oriented volunteers who can spend two hours per week in our Kirkland office putting together hospice handbooks that are given to patients and their caregivers.
You must be able to follow detailed instructions and work independently.
The hours are flexible Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Special needs "needlework"
If you don't have the time or mobility to volunteer at the center or in homes, you can still contribute by using your needlework skills.
We have a continuous need for quilts, lap blankets, catheter bag covers, caps, mittens, etc. These handmade gifts are very comforting and touching to the patients and their families. The blankets become treasured keepsakes for the families after their loved one dies.
If you are interested in contributing to the comfort of our patients in this way, please contact the hospice volunteer coordinators for specifications of the items.
What type of training do we provide for new volunteers?
All volunteers receive comprehensive training that starts with the history and philosophy of hospice care. You'll also learn about pain and symptom management, spiritual care, boundaries, ethical issues, family systems, diversity, and loss and grief.
We'll help you gain awareness around your feelings and experiences with death and dying, and further develop listening skills so you can be fully present to those you serve.
Each position will require additional training specific to the position.
Is there a registration fee for the training?
There is no registration fee.
Do you offer ongoing support for your volunteers?
Yes, we offer a variety of meetings and activities, educational opportunities and inservices throughout the year. Volunteers also receive support from the hospice team on an ongoing basis.
Are there other requirements I should know about?
- Volunteers must be at least 21 years old.
- Volunteers must pass Washington State Patrol and nationwide background checks.
- Volunteers must provide documentation of immunization status to include two-step TB, Tdap, MMR, Varicella, hepatitis B and the current year flu shot
- Volunteers' driving records must be approved if their position requires driving.
- If you have recently experienced a personal loss, there is a one year waiting period before you can become a hospice volunteer. During the one year waiting period, you are welcome to participate in our bereavement groups.
How do I get started?
You can start on our hospice volunteer application process page.