What is Hospice?

Hospice is a support program for people with a life-limiting illness. Hospice care provides comfort and support for the patient and their family on their journey. The focus is on maintaining the patient's quality of life while respecting their dignity and uniqueness. Hospice services are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers.

Why Be a Hospice Volunteer?

Being a hospice volunteer is a rewarding experience that allows you to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families during a difficult time. As a hospice volunteer, you can provide emotional support, companionship and assistance with day-to-day tasks for patients and their loved ones. It's a chance to give back to your community and to make a positive impact in someone's life. By volunteering, you can also gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the end-of-life process. If you are looking for a meaningful way to give back and make a difference, consider becoming a hospice volunteer.

What Does a Hospice Volunteer Do?

A hospice volunteer is someone who provides support and companionship to patients who are in the end-of-life stage and their families. Hospice volunteers work alongside the hospice team to help improve the quality of life for patients by providing emotional support, companionship, and assistance with daily tasks such as running errands or light housekeeping. They may also engage in activities such as reading, playing music, or simply listening to the patient's stories and providing a comforting presence. Additionally, hospice volunteers offer respite care for family members and caregivers, allowing them time for self-care or other activities. Hospice volunteers are an integral part of the hospice team, providing compassionate care and support to patients and their loved ones during a difficult time. Here are some of the different volunteer roles:

Direct patient care volunteers provide companionship visits to patients in their homes and nursing homes or hospitals where they socialize with the patients and provide respite for the family. These interactions may include talking to the patient, recording a video or creating a scrapbook as a parting gift for their loved ones, play music or read, or simply hold their hand as they breathe their last breath.

Spiritual care volunteers in addition to companionship visits also engage in spiritual care for the patients. They may listen to a patient’s spiritual needs, pray and/or read religious texts with them upon patient/ caregiver request.

Clerical volunteers will do family reach out such as satisfaction phone calls, assist with preparing mailings or cards, and assist medical records clerk with patient teaching materials. They can also volunteer remotely.

Bereavement volunteers assist the Bereavement Coordinator with comforting grieving families whose loved ones have recently died. Duties may include assisting a support group facilitator at Bereavement groups and visiting families or preparing bereavement mailings.

Veteran volunteers require a bit more training than regular volunteers and they provide companionship specifically to veteran patients.

Special events volunteers assist with fundraisers, colleague meetings, donor events, holiday events, and any other large hospice events.

Pet therapy volunteers bring their certified therapy pet to do patient visits. Volunteers are welcome to pursue more than one opportunity.

Volunteer Requirements

1. 18 years or older.
2. Have received the COVID-19 primary series vaccination (boosters not required).
3. Have a driver’s license.
4. Have a reliable, insured means of transportation.

Become A Hospice Volunteer & Join our Team!

Volunteers are an essential part of our hospice team.

The Volunteer Application Process

1. Please complete the inquiry form below to express interest and learn more. Our Volunteer Coordinator will contact you, answer any questions and explain next steps in the application process.

2. Complete this application and return it to our Volunteer Coordinator.

3. Receive a TB screening and flu shot during flu season.

4. Complete a background check.

5. Complete fingerprint authorization.

The state of Iowa law requires all health care workers (and volunteers) to complete a fingerprint based criminal history check. Volunteers have not been fingerprinted before will have to go to the specified State Troopers Barracks to get fingerprinted.

6. Complete hospice volunteer training & in-person orientation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions, please contact us below.

Hospice is not a place, but a type of service provided to patients wherever they are located. So the location of hospice is the patient’s residence which could be a home, assisted living facility, nursing home, hospital, etc.
There is no stringent requirement, but we request volunteers work at least eight hours a month. A patient visit is usually two hours so that’s technically four visits a month. However, exceptions to that can always be made as long as it is communicated to the Volunteer Coordinator.
Volunteers can stay for us as long as they like but we ask they remain consistent in volunteering for at least four to six months. However, exceptions to that can be made as long as it is communicated to the Volunteer Coordinator.
For Example, some students will do the bulk of their volunteering (30+ hrs) in the summer and a couple of hours at the beginning of the semester while others will do three to four hours a week for a year. We understand that students are busy so its common practice for us to put volunteers on “hold” around midterms/finals weeks.
Yes! We schedule patient visits based on your timeline! For example, some volunteers do patient visits every Sunday morning while others do a different day each week due to a varying work/school schedule. Just give us at least a 48-hour heads up to schedule it.
Yes! The volunteer coordinator/director of hospice would be more than happy to write one for you. However, we ask that the volunteer be active with us for at least six months so we could truly get to know them and advocate on their behalf.

Interested in volunteering?

Please complete a form below and a member of our team will contact you.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a St. Mary Home Care & Hospice volunteer. Each of our volunteers help us realize the mission, vision, and values of St. Mary Home Care & Hospice. Volunteers make an impact each day by providing invaluable services to our patients. If you are interested in helping serve our patients, pursuing personal growth, continuing a lifetime of learning, or returning a kindness shown to you while you were a patient, St. Mary Home Care & Hospice has a unique variety of volunteer opportunities to match your interests.