How can you become a hospice volunteer

A key feature of hospice work is the commitment of volunteers. Their field of activity is diverse and multifaceted: Most of the volunteers are involved in accompanying the seriously ill and the dying, i.e. in psychosocial care. They are there for them, as well as for their relatives, give them time and cater to their wishes and needs. In addition, many volunteer in boards, in political committees, in public relations, in administration, take on coordination tasks, information events and preparatory courses, advise and support in associations, etc. Through their work they not only make an indispensable contribution to the accompaniment of those affected, Rather, they make a major contribution to the fact that our society is changing the way we deal with critically ill and dying people. Volunteer hospice attendants are used primarily in the outpatient hospice services, but also in inpatient hospices, nursing homes, in hospitals and in facilities for people with disabilities.

Handout "Qualified preparation of volunteer workers in hospice work".

All volunteers working with seriously ill and dying people are carefully and intensively prepared. The handout “Qualified preparation of volunteer employees in hospice work” offers suggestions for this qualified preparation.

Model agreements for volunteers

In response to popular requests, the DHPV provides a sample agreement for voluntary support. The text of the contract is intended to reconcile the understanding of voluntary work and hospice care as well as the necessary legal obligation. The patterns are available in both female and male form, as PDF and Word document.

DHPV volunteer study

Volunteering is the core of hospice and palliative work. In order to take account of the new developments and changes and to be able to continue to inspire volunteers for dying and grief counseling, the DHPV has started a research project on the subject of "Volunteering and civic engagement in hospice work" - carried out by Prof. Schneider, Prof. Heller, Prof. . Klie and Prof. Gronemeyer and their staff - realized.

Future prospects for volunteering

In order to make the DHPV joint study "Voluntary work and civic engagement in hospice work" and its results usable for hospice and palliative work, an information package was developed for all actors in the hospice movement. The aim of the information package is to shed light on the future prospects of hospice volunteering and to support the work with the volunteers on site. In addition to a differentiated technical text on the future challenges, the information package also provides edited contents of the study as well as practical suggestions for implementation and communication.

Young volunteer work

A conclusion of the DHPV volunteer study: For sustainable hospice work, the change to a new, i.e. more colorful, diverse and flexible volunteer work must be promoted. To this end, more and more younger people, more men and more people with migration experience must be addressed.

As a result, the project "Hospice work and voluntary engagement - further development and future prospects" started in early 2019, which, under the leadership of the DHPV and funded by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth, pursued the goal of developing voluntary work in hospice work (with the focus on young volunteers) through various events and materials. A special result is the short film “I accompany (dying) people”, which depicts volunteering with expressive images and shows that young people are also able to cope with this task.

The project ends in May 2021. What remains is a nationwide impetus for dealing with and attracting young people. A working group of young people who are already active in dying and grief counseling and who want to shape the change from their perspective has been established in the DHPV. In this article they report on their motivation. Together with them, the DHPV will continue to advance this important topic in the future.