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Volunteers Vital to Hospice Operations

Volunteers Vital to Hospice Operations

Posted on April 18, 2022 by Sheryl Meehan

Did you know that many important tasks that help hospice patients and families feel supported are provided by volunteers?

As we observe National Volunteer Week (April 17-23), Care Dimensions thanks our volunteers who provide companionship to patients, give caregivers a break for errands and appointments, help at our two hospice houses, make phone calls, or assist with other administrative tasks. They are vital to the operations of our nonprofit organization.

In-person volunteer visits return

After the COVID-19 pandemic put a long pause on in-person volunteer visits, we’re happy to resume this service with dedicated trained volunteers who follow all federal and state guideline on vaccinations, testing, and wearing personal protective equipment to protect their safety and that of our patients. They visit with patients wherever they call home to talk, write letters, read, share hobbies and special interests, or simply provide a calming presence.

Some of our volunteers visit with their well-trained dogs to offer additional comfort. Others offer Reiki, which promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety through gentle touch.

Volunteers who interact with patients and families often say the rewards of volunteering far outweigh the commitment.

“I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile that is meaningful to me and others.” – Alan Wichlei of Lexington, MA

“It’s great to know that I’ve been able to help in a way that makes a difference and I’m always glad that I spent time with her (my patient). Each visit is a gift to both of us.” – Laura O’Connor, North Shore of MA

“My experience as a hospice volunteer has strengthened my respect for the patients I see and the grace they show in confronting reality. I hope some of the courage, patience, and especially the grace will visit me sometime in the future.” – Bill Brisk of Newton, MA

Volunteering from home and our offices

Some Care Dimensions volunteers make “check-in calls” to patients or caregivers on Thursdays to confirm that they have sufficient equipment, supplies and medications for the weekend and to inquire about potential need for follow up by clinical staff.

“The connection you can make through these calls is amazing,” says Sally Huss of Manchester-by-the-Sea, who has been making weekly check-in calls for Care Dimensions since 2014. “You rapidly get to know the patient or caregiver, and as the calls continue, you become closer.”

Volunteers also support Care Dimensions remotely by making bereavement calls or performing administrative tasks in our offices.

You, too, can make a difference

Care Dimensions offers volunteers extensive training, support and enrichment classes, the flexibility to contribute at all times of the day and week, and opportunities for camaraderie and fellowship with other volunteers. Learn how you can make a difference for hospice patients and families at: https://www.caredimensions.org/volunteers/.


About the author
Sheryl Meehan is Director of Volunteer Services and Complementary Therapies for Care Dimensions.

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Since 1978, Care Dimensions, formerly Hospice of the North Shore,  has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in over 100 communities in Massachusetts.

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