Things to consider when applying to be a hospice volunteer

How do you know if hospice volunteering is right for you? Consider the following ideas to help determine whether this is for you.

  • You have an interest in the hospice concept and have the desire to help others.
  • You have an awareness of what is drawing you to hospice work and are willing to explore.
  • You are sensitive to the special needs of dying people and their families and have chosen to work to support them.
  • You are aware of the losses that you have experienced and your way of grieving, and you have a perspective about life and death, loss and grief.
  • Working at hospice can be stressful at times. It is important that you have a good support system and ways to take care of yourself, meeting change and the unexpected with ease.
  • You are open to others who may have different values, beliefs and ways of living.
  • You are able to listen well and to validate others where they are, rather than where you might believe they should be.
  • As you may be called to work in a variety of areas and perform many different tasks, self-reliance, flexibility, dependability and adaptability are assets. Realistic awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses and the ability to set limits are important.
  • You will be working as part of a team, and be willing to explore ways of supporting and being supported by other team members. 
  • You are dedicated to your own growth and on-going learning. 
  • Your personal strengths will likely include warmth, concern for other people, sense of humour and approachability.
  • You are willing to commit yourself to the training and to the volunteer responsibilities that follow, and to gaining an understanding of the standards and policies of hospice care.
  • You understand that our work is not to change people but to be with them where they are.

Special thanks to Hospice Toronto for this article.