What Is a Hospice Volunteer and What Do They Do?


Hospice volunteers are essential to hospice care facilities. To put it simply, they are incredibly kind individuals who volunteer their time freely to patients nearing the end of their lives. Volunteers frequently interact with patients on a more emotional level than doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

If you’re thinking of volunteering for a local hospice or considering getting one for a loved one, here are some things you need to know.

Preparing to Become a Hospice Volunteer

Before beginning their work, hospice volunteers go through a training program to prepare them for their job. Hospice organizations have unique training processes for their volunteers. They often cover subjects including hospice philosophy, services provided by the hospice, and how to protect the privacy of the patients’ health information.

Hospice training programs prepare volunteers to cater to patients’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and their families. When it comes to engaging with all parties involved and talking with patients and their loved ones, most training focuses on respecting boundaries. 

Lastly, volunteers learn how to assist patients and their families in coping with loss, sorrow, and mourning, while administrative volunteers may also be taught to perform all related responsibilities.

The length of training will vary based on the role that a volunteer will play. Volunteers are allowed to ask any questions they have during the training. They’ll also meet some of the employees who work at the hospice.

What Do Hospice Volunteers Do?

In general, hospice volunteers are divided into two categories: direct care volunteers and indirect care volunteers.

  • Direct Care – Direct care volunteers provide hospice care at home or the hospital. They will remain with the patient and spend time with them to give comfort and company. This will allow the family caregivers some much-needed rest and alone time.

Direct care hospice volunteers would spend their time with their patients talking about current events, reminiscing old memories, or just sitting quietly. It all depends on the patient’s preferences. They can also perform music for the patients to lift their spirits.

  • Indirect Care – Indirect care hospice volunteers, on the other hand, assist with administrative duties and general office activities.

They don’t deal directly with patients or their families. They can assist with data entry and other clerical tasks or aid with community outreach by preparing newsletters and mail campaigns. They may also help with the planning of community events and other hospice activities.

Volunteers who have just lost a loved one usually take time to process their grief and emotions before they can help again in direct care. Indirect care is a perfect method for them to contribute while they wait.


For the volunteers, many of them claim that their time volunteering in hospice has given them a higher feeling of purpose and communal connection and better respect for life and acceptance of death. With the help of volunteers, families get the additional support they need during such trying times. They are given a sense of comfort knowing that their loved ones are being given the best care they can get before they pass on.

Whether you are interested in being a hospice care volunteer or looking for senior health services in California, Bridge Home Health and Hospice can accommodate you. We provide home health care and hospice services with a patient-centered approach. Visit our website or call us at (800) 476-0043 to know more.