Volunteering is one of those things that gives people a sense of accomplishment and pride. And it should! I have a long history of volunteering and my friend recently mentioned she was looking for new volunteer opportunities in the Atlanta area. She had already volunteered with homeless shelters, did food drives, etc., so, I told her about becoming a hospice volunteer in Atlanta. Because my grandfather was in hospice care earlier this year, I knew how much of a difference volunteers could make there. She wasn’t sure if it was a great opportunity because she’s never been a fan of hospitals and certainly was leery of visiting an end-of-life care facility. But, I told her there were a few ways she could get involved.
Become a Patient/Family Volunteer
This type of volunteer is the easiest and most commonly found one in a hospice facility. I told my friend that if she signed up to be a patient or family volunteer, she would do crossword puzzles, read with a patient, or simply take a walk around the facility with a patient. Because she was short of time, but wanted to help, I thought this was her best option. Also, I let her know that the time commitment doesn’t really matter with this type of volunteer service. What matters is being of service to a patient and their family.
Become a Bereavement Counselor
Also, I told her about the time I volunteered with Hospice Care Atlanta (hospicecareatlanta.com) to provide support to the bereaved. I did so because I had experience with having a loved on in a long-term care facility and I know what it’s like to loses someone in that way. Some of the stuff I did included:
- Bereavement group counseling and phone support—Because I have an MSW license, I was able to volunteer to lead a group and do phone counseling with family members who recently lost a loved one in hospice care. It was a much more involved process than doing the typical volunteer assignment, but so worth it.
Become an Administrative Volunteer
Now, I hate sitting in an office. But, my friend has been doing office work for years and this was right up her alley. She decided the best way to volunteer with a hospice care facility was to help in the office. Every office could use an extra set of hands for clerical help. She did everything from answering telephones and inputting data (consistent with HIPAA guidelines and restrictions), to filing, and general office assistance. In the end, she found her perfect way to give back. And that’s really all it’s about.