Make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Become a Hospice Volunteer today!
Hospice volunteering is a special opportunity to provide friendship and emotional support to terminally ill patients and their families. We offer comprehensive training to volunteers before placing them with patients and families. At Sentara our volunteers are considered staff members who donate their time. It is recommended for individuals to wait a year from a life-changing event or death of a loved one before becoming a hospice volunteer.
If you choose to work directly with patients and loved ones you can experience the fulfillment of helping to support patients and families through one of life’s most complex passages.
Patient and Family Care
The primary request from hospice families of a volunteer is for the volunteer to spend a few hours with the patient to give the caregiver an opportunity to be out of the house or to rest.
Duties can include:
- Spending time directly supporting patient/family through companionship
- Listening, reading, playing games
- Running errands
- Transporting patient/caregiver
- Preparing meals for the patient/family
Visit hospice patients in nursing homes.
Enjoy the comfort of having nursing home staff close by while you visit our patients in nursing homes. These patients truly enjoy someone spending time with them. We ask our volunteers to be an advocate for these patients.
Provide support to the family members during the months following the patient’s death. The bereavement volunteer can offer support through cards, phone calls and occasional visits. The volunteer may also assist with the bereavement support groups and other related activities. Becoming a bereavement volunteer requires additional training directly with the Bereavement Coordinator.
Provides support to the patient/family at the time when death is very near. Volunteers who have indicated they are willing to serve in this way will be asked to give two to four hours shifts of time with the patient and/or family. There are sometimes eight volunteers involved in a vigil.
Dog Certified program that allows for patients to pet the animals as comfort and companionship.
If you are not interested in working with patients and loved one – but still would like to support hospice by donating your time – there are many other ways that you can do so such as:
Administrative Volunteers: Assist with daily office work, mailings, newsletter, deliveries and other tasks in support of the Sentara Hospice Program.
Special Service Volunteers
Sewing projects: If you have the gift to sew, we can use your help with a variety of sewing projects including comfort pillows, lap throws, and Remember Me Bears outfits. (We ask for a garment of clothing of the deceased and a volunteer makes a replica of that garment for a special bear that we give to the family.)
Other projects include crocheting, quilting, yard work, and/or car washing.
Hospice Program Chaplaincy Volunteers
Chaplaincy Volunteers are ordained chaplains who volunteer spiritual support services at the request of the patient or family, either in affiliation with the Sentara Hospice Program or on a Special Services basis. The Chaplains functioning in affiliation with the hospice volunteer program are required to participate in an orientation to Sentara Hospice Program policy and procedures.
For more information about volunteering, please read Hospice Volunteering Frequently Asked Questions.
"I have met at least two angels since I have been a hospice volunteer. Rita O and Carol G are the two angels."
- C. K. Hospice Volunteer
"They both knew that death was coming but seemed to be calm about it. Rita always had a smile on her face and seemed at peace. Carol had similar likes as mine, i.e. oldies music playing, fan blowing on her and she loved foot massages. She made me feel less alone in my life. Thank you Sentara hospice for giving me the opportunity to visit with these and other "angels"."
- CK, Cynthia Koranek
"Tom and she talked with me openly concerning her ending. He seemed relieved to have someone to talk to. I admire them both as well as their love for one another. It's been an honor to have shared this part of their life."
- Priscilla Martino
"So far my impression is that it is like visiting a sick friend and just doing what you can to help. But it is not as scary as I thought it would be."
- John Mahan-first volunteer case.
The goal of Hospice is compassionate care. Enrich your life! Volunteer!
To volunteer in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach:
To volunteer in Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Areas of South Hampton County, Surry, Wakefield and Waverly:
To volunteer in Hampton/Newport News, York County, Williamsburg, Gloucester, Charles City, Toano, and Providence Forge areas:
To volunteer in Covington, Rockbridge, Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Highland and Craig areas: