Hospice Family Caregivers: Walking Alongside on Life’s Final Journey

Hospice helps families cope with what people fear most about dying – being in pain, being alone, losing control, and being a burden to others. Hospice doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and trained volunteers help patients and families with their whole range of needs-physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Our specially trained volunteers are such a help to the entire family, we call these patient centered volunteers “Family Care Givers”. They tell the patient and family, “I’m here because I want to help.”

To make sure our volunteers are well-prepared and confident Hospice of CNY provides extensive training and support. Prospective Family Care Givers complete an 8-session preparation class that covers all issues of Hospice care and the role and responsibilities of the volunteer Family Care Giver.

As volunteers serve their respective patients and families they have many opportunities to meet with other Family Care Givers and the volunteer manager/coordinator for additional education and ongoing support. We make every effort to match the case assignment with your individual needs and preferences.

Who Are Our Hospice Family Caregivers?

Sue is a mother with young children. Pat and Bill are retired people who decided to volunteer as a couple. Jennifer is a police officer. Al is a barber.

As different as our volunteers are from one another, they all share an ability to listen, with sensitivity and openness to people, and a desire to help others. Most agree that they get more than they give.

As a Family Caregiver you might:

  • Stay with the patient while the primary caregiver runs errands, does some housework, or gets some much-needed rest!
  • Fix a light meal, go shopping for groceries, help the patient at meal-time, mow the lawn
  • Drive the patient or other members of the family to an appointment, to the mall, to visit their loved one in the nursing home
  • Listen as the patient reflects on fond memories and present concerns
  • Read aloud and write letters
  • Babysit or take children on outings
  • Watch TV with the patient, or do the crossword puzzle
  • Make personal items to take to patients and families
  • Provide grief and bereavement support

Volunteers can also support Hospice services “behind the scenes” by:

  • Doing clerical and administrative tasks in the office
  • Helping to tell the Hospice story to the community
  • Representing Hospice at community health fairs
  • Helping with special events

To learn more about volunteering for Hospice of Central New York, call (315) 634-1100, or send an e-mail message to Michele Devlin mdevlin@hospicecny.org. Download a volunteer application here.