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Hospice Volunteer Training

This page pulls together resources that will be of particular benefit for hospice volunteers. Follow the links for details on any item.


Handbook for Mortals

The first book we recommend for volunteer training is the Handbook for Mortals, a comprehensive guide to end-of-life issues. You can read the full text online for free -- just click the book cover.

When Autumn Comes: A Hospice Volunteer's Stories

When Autumn Comes

When Autumn Comes explores death from the perspective of a hospice volunteer, recounting stories based on experiences with patients, friends, and family members, as they each approach dying on their own terms. This insightful and tender book provides a realistic introduction to what hospice volunteers actually do.

The Hospice Handbook

The Hospice Handbook

For a good introduction to details of hospice care try The Hospice Handbook. Chapters introduce you to basic concepts of palliative care, when hospice is an appropriate choice, an inside look at how a hospice team operates, and practical suggestions on how to choose a hospice.

Heart-to-Heart: Caring for the Dying

Heart-to-Heart Audio CD

We suggest that hospices add the audio CD Heart-to-Heart: Caring for the Dying to their volunteer training libraries. This excellent documentary series provides three hours of audio education on end-of-life care in an easy-to-absorb radio format.

music speaker icon Listen to an 18-minute extract on pain control that dispels common myths that many people -- including doctors -- have about pain medications. This segment explains how good pain management can help you keep going as best you can. But getting good pain management may be difficult due to poor physician training, concerns about drug addiction, and laws that can get in the way of needed pain medications. For more audio education, check out Growth House Radio.

Nina Livingstone: Uncovering Compassion

Nina Livingstone: Uncovering Compassion CD

Nina Livingstone is a hospice chaplain. She has recorded several guided meditations specifically intended to help you notice and develop your ability to provide compassionate service. Her non-denominational approach to Uncovering Compassion is well-suited for use by hospice volunteers.

Nina also has a series of one-minute tips for caregivers on awareness and self-care. Here are some of Nina's brief suggestions on how to take better care of yourself and improve your caregiving at the same time:

music speaker icon Remembering the need for self-care

music speaker icon Naming what you are doing

music speaker icon Waiting time can refresh you

music speaker icon Listening to others

music speaker icon Waiting nothing from others

For Volunteer Directors

Volunteers in Hospice and Palliative Care: A Handbook for Volunteer Service Managers
book cover By Derek Doyle. Provides comprehensive, practical guidance on the responsibilities of those who lead, coordinate, and manage volunteers in small hospices, large specialist palliative care units, and general hospitals. Covers selection, training, supervision and support, and legal and ethical issues.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
NHPCO offers the Hospice Volunteer Program Resource Manual, (NHPCO item number 711010) a comprehensive guide for hospice volunteers and volunteer managers. It comes with several ready-to-use forms, such as competency checklists, surveys, a policies and procedures form, visit logs, and other administrative forms. These forms also are offered on a CD-ROM that can be purchased with the manual, or by itself. For current pricing or to order this item, surf to the NHPCO website or call NHPCO at 1-800-646-6460. Tell them Growth House sent you!

Leadership And Management Of Volunteer Programs
Based on the Association for Volunteer Administration Certification Competencies, each chapter offers insight into a particular functional area within volunteer administration.

Motivating and Managing Today's Volunteers
A team-oriented book that will be of value to anyone trying to recruit, train, and motivate volunteers.

audio speaker iconHear advice for hospice workers from Nancy Alexander