Could Hospice Volunteering Be Right for You?

78458252Ask Rachel Grunder what she finds most rewarding about her volunteer work with hospice, she’ll tell you it’s “simply the relationships.”  

“Each one is unique, this is true.  But, at the same time, each one seems to be threaded with appreciation and gratitude.  I have volunteered for many different organizations over the years.  Hospice patients and their families show so much gratitude for the time I spend with them, no matter the task,” she notes.

Each day, volunteers like Rachel give of their time in many different ways, whether it’s simply sitting with patients, reading with patients or even helping with light yard and house work.  Regardless of the task, volunteers play an integral role in the hospice care journey.

Individuals often have many questions when deciding if volunteer work is right for them.  We asked some current Memorial Hospice volunteers the most frequently asked questions regarding their volunteer work, and here’s what they said:

What made you want to become a volunteer?

My late wife was essentially a hospice patient at Memorial back in 2000.  Her mother subsequently was a home hospice patient.  It’s a wonderful service, and as a retiree I have time to give back.

                                                                                                                        Mike Orr, Hospice Voluntee

Would you recommend hospice volunteering to others?  And why?

Yes, I highly recommend becoming a hospice volunteer!  It has been very rewarding and I feel that the more people that become educated about hospice, the better reputation it will get.  I have had many patient families state “I wish I knew about hospice earlier for my loved one.”  Hospice isn’t just about dying, it’s about living the rest of your days in comfort and peace.

                                                                                                                        Johanna Hall, Hospice Volunteer

Some people say “I’d think working with hospice would be depressing.”  What is your response to this question?

Absolutely not.  [It’s] one of the most rewarding and eye opening experiences I have had.  Hospice patients remind us that dying is part of the life cycle and it’s how the end of your life is enjoyed that makes this opportunity fun.  Some patients do not have family nearby or that can visit as often as they want, having someone extra, routinely visit them is all they could ask for.

                                                                                                                        Jennifer Varga, Hospice Volunteer

Tell us about one of your favorite volunteer moments.

I have so many favorite moments, it’s hard to choose!

I was sitting in the bleachers of a high school basketball game, when someone tapped me on the shoulder.  It was the daughter of one of my recently deceased patients.  I had only spent a few hours with her father the day before he passed away.  But, during that time, unbeknownst to me, her dad had smiled time and time again—-her sister was with us—-and, she reported later that her dad hadn’t smiled in quite some time.  One of our stories led us to realize that when he was in the military after WWII, he delivered blankets and supplies to my father’s family in the south, after severe flooding had wiped their town off the map.  Neither one of us could believe how small the world really is—-AND, his daughter reported to her sister that he really enjoyed visiting that time of his life again…with smiles this time around.  You just never know!

                                                                                                                        Rachel Grunder, Hospice Volunteer

 In September, Memorial Home Services Hospice will offer a summer training course for individuals joining the volunteer team at Memorial.  During the course of their training, they’ll learn about our hospice philosophy, understand the journey in which families embark on and learn the do’s and don’ts of their volunteer role. 

Visit for more information about Memorial’s Hospice program and to complete an online application to become a hospice volunteer.