Volunteer FAQs

Applications can be obtained by calling the office at (401) 415-4200 or you may complete the volunteer application online,  or download a PDF of the application, complete it and mail it to the Volunteer Department, 1085 North Main Street , Providence, RI  02904.

Volunteers provide practical and emotional support to patients, families and office staff. They can provide companionship to patients, respite for families, assist caregivers with specific projects, provide transportation or do errands. Volunteers listen to patients stories and are a vital communication link between patients, families, and Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island staff.

Some of the activities that volunteers regularly assist with are: playing cards, reading to patients, helping with child supervision, preparing a light meal, housesitting while a family attends a wake or funeral, assisting with a special project such as writing a life review or making a scrapbook.

By being a hospice volunteer, you can gain great personal satisfaction from knowing you have made an impact in another person’s life. Many volunteers feel honored to have the opportunity to be present with an individual at such a poignant and vulnerable time. Volunteers are presented with challenges and learn life lessons when caring for our patients and families.

We have volunteers who provide:

  • Direct service to patients and families: patient volunteers, spiritual and bereavement volunteers
  • Indirect service to patients and provide support to staff: Philanthropy activities or event volunteers and administrative support volunteers.
  • Complementary therapy to patients and caregivers. Certification is required to be a Reiki practitioner, massage and/or pet therapist for Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island.

Volunteers are considered staff at Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island. Patient volunteers must be at least 18 years old. All volunteers must conform to agency policies and must complete our application process. This includes completing an application, being interviewed, a criminal background check, reference check, immunization record check, completion of our compliance requirements and competency evaluations. Patient volunteers must complete approximately 9 hours of in-class instruction – the General Agency Orientation and a volunteer training.

New trainees should be without a significant loss within their family or among their close friends at least one year before entering direct patient/family care training. Annual performance evaluations are completed for each volunteer.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Orientation to the agency
  • Hospice mission/philosophy
  • Patient/family dynamics
  • Communication skills
  • Standard precautions
  • Role of hospice team
  • HIPAA compliance, confidentiality
  • Volunteer roles/documentation

Additional training is offered to volunteers who wish to assist our patients with spiritual care or bereavement, or at our Philip Hulitar Hospice Center.

Volunteers do not provide personal care for patients. They do not feed, medicate, ambulate, toilet, or transfer patients from bed/chair/wheelchair, etc.

Volunteers visit patients in patients' homes, in long-term care facilities (nursing homes), hospitals, and at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center.

Yes, volunteers submit weekly documentation regarding their visits to patients.
Yes. Volunteers can choose to visit one patient at a time or they can visit several. It is a decision that is made by the volunteer. Volunteers may request to be inactive at any time for personal reasons.

Volunteer coordinators are in regular contact with volunteers, primarily by phone and by email. Monthly newsletters are mailed to all volunteers with current information, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Regular in-service and educational opportunities are available to volunteers. In addition, the spiritual care, bereavement and social work departments can assist volunteers with issues relating to their volunteer work with Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island patients.

Volunteers are part of the Interdisciplinary Group (IDG) that works to ensure the highest quality of life possible for the person living with a life-limiting illness. Other members of the team are Physicians, Nurses, Hospice Aides, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Chaplains and Bereavement Specialists. Volunteers can attend IDG meetings to discuss their patients.

Staff members are available to discuss specific patient concerns with volunteers one-on-one or with a group of volunteers who are supporting a particular patient.

Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is always a nurse available and an administrator on call.

As of October 2016, Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island has 330 volunteers.

More than 21,459 hours were donated to Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island by volunteers between in fiscal year 2015. This is the equivalent of approximately 11 additional full-time staff. Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island provides statistical reports on the activity of the volunteer program in accordance with federal regulations that state that no less than 5 percent of the total hours delivered in patient care should be donated by the agency’s volunteers.