What does it mean to be a hospice volunteer?

Volunteer opportunities at Iowa City Hospice are as diverse as the patients they serve. Some provide service directly for patients and families while others do office support work, but all take part in providing dignity for patients as they near the end of their lives.

“My first experience with hospice was in the last days of my mother-in-law’s life back in 2009,” says Pam Jarvis. “I was very impressed with the warm, loving care they shared with my family.”

After this interaction, Pam decided to become a hospice volunteer herself.

“The other day I was driving home from an afternoon with a patient and I was just overcome with a sense of honor. This is a very fulfilling thing to do. It means a lot to the family for someone to be there with their loved one. It takes you completely out of yourself.”

Volunteer Coordinator Emily Moon hears stories like Pam’s time and time again in her training sessions.

“Quite a few of our volunteers came to us after a personal experience with hospice,” she says. “They feel it’s important to give back to others what they’ve been given.”

Volunteers providing direct patient care must pass a background check, take part in a 14-hour training program approved by Medicare and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, complete time sheets, and make a one-year commitment.

“This isn’t the kind of volunteer work you do on a whim,” Emily mentions. “There’s lot of paperwork and training and a significant time commitment. But rather than deterring people, we seem to draw the most committed volunteers. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to give our patients and families what they need.”

Beyond patient and family care, there is a wide variety of volunteer opportunities at Iowa City Hospice. Some interview patients to gather photos and stories for memory books and recorded narratives as a Legacy Project Volunteer. The “We Honor Veterans” program creates opportunities for patients to share their military experiences. Other volunteers may spend their time in our office assisting with administrative or development tasks, or out in the community providing education about our services. There’s even volunteers who work exclusively to care for patient’s animals as a Pet Peace of Mind Volunteer.

Anyone interested in volunteering at Iowa City Hospice begins by completing an online volunteer application. You will indicate your areas of interest and availability. Hospice is the type of care being provided, not the location, so hospice volunteers work with patients and families wherever they are, including private homes, long-term care facilities and hospitals.

Hospice volunteers perform ordinary acts in an extraordinary time in people’s lives. For many, their volunteer time is simply spent sitting and talking with a patient, offering them a smile or a hug. But those simple interactions take on new meaning, providing dignity and joy in the twilight of an individual’s life.

Volunteer Training

We are seeking warm and compassionate people to serve as hospice volunteers. Duties include simple acts, like sitting and talking or holding a hand, that have a tremendous impact on someone’s life. Hospice volunteers who work with patients and families go wherever the patient is, including a private home, a long-term care facility or a hospital. Hospice is the type of care being provided, not the location.

We provide the information and confidence you need through a 14-hour training program that takes place over two days, as approved by Medicare and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, we have an upcoming training session scheduled. Please visit fill out an application and call us at (319) 351-5665 to register.

Friday, August 25th and Saturday, August 26th

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Mercy Medical Plaza

520 Jefferson St., Iowa City

Contact ICH volunteer coordinators Emily Moon or Ann Coe with questions at (319) 351-5665.

Honoring the Contributions of Hospice Volunteers

During National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, Iowa City Hospice Celebrates the Gifts of Volunteers

This week, during National Volunteer Week, we are honoring the 98 dedicated volunteers from our community who ensure that patients and families facing serious and life-limiting illness find hope, dignity and love.

“Iowa City Hospice volunteers play a vital role in the care we provide to our patients and their families,” said Ann Coe, Iowa City Hospice Volunteer Coordinator. “They remain the heart of Iowa City Hospice, and we could not fulfill our mission without them. Through their caring presence and acts of service, our volunteers support Iowa City Hospice and the community we serve.”

Hospice volunteers often serve patients and families at the bedside but they also assist in the office, help raise awareness, contribute to educational programs, provide fundraising support, and more.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that there are an estimated 430,000 trained hospice volunteers providing more than 19 million hours of service to hospice programs each year. An estimated 1.6 million patients in the U.S. are cared for by hospice every year.

Hospice volunteers help the people they serve live every moment of life to the fullest and enable the organizations they work with to achieve their mission in the community. Most hospice volunteers choose to give their time helping others because of their own experience with the compassionate care hospice provided to a dying loved one.

For those interested in learning more about hospice or volunteer opportunities, please visit our Volunteer page or call 319-351-5665.

Volunteer Recognition Event

Volunteers are the heart of Iowa City Hospice, and we look forward to honoring them during our annual Volunteer Recognition Event!

The event will take place on Wednesday April 26th, from 5:00-7:00 pm at the Kirkwood Room in Iowa City. Please join us for good food, great conversation, and a presentation by Mercedes Bern-Klug, an Associate Professor and Director of Aging and Longevity Studies at the University of Iowa.

Don’t worry if you can’t arrive by 5:00! Feel free to join us for all or part of the event. Food will be served buffet style from 5:00-6:00, and our speaker’s presentation will be from 6:00-6:30.

In order to help us plan for the event, please click here to RSVP.

Volunteer Training January 2017

What: Patient and Family Support Volunteer Training
When: Friday, January 27, 2017 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm and Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
Where: Mercy Medical Plaza, 540 E Jefferson St, Iowa City, IA 52245

If you are interested in being a volunteer, click here and please fill out a volunteer application.