VITAS hospice volunteers are as diverse as the patients they serve, covering all ages, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds and lifestyles. Some volunteers are retired; others are working professionals or students. We even have volunteers who are homebound. Some of our volunteers are moving through their own grief process. Having benefited from the assistance, support and companionship of VITAS, they decided that becoming a volunteer is an appropriate way to honor their loved one. We even have four-footed, fur-coated volunteers from VITAS' Paw Pals Program.
Whatever their strengths or interests, hospice volunteers find unique ways to make patients’ eyes light up. VITAS volunteers provide services such as:
- Friendly companionship for patients
- Respite care to give a family caregiver a much-needed break
- Transportation to appointments
- Pick-up and delivery of medications
- Accompanying a patient to a church function, beauty shop, grocery store, wedding, etc.
- Calling families to see if they need anything, or just to listen
- Pet care, including taking the patient’s pet for a walk or to the vet
All VITAS volunteers go through a training program that focuses on what terminally ill patients and their families may experience and teaches volunteers how to provide care as part of a hospice team. Trained volunteers commit at least one to four hours a week to providing VITAS volunteer services.
Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities in California
With their unique talents, VITAS California hospice volunteers serve as patient and family advocates and help bring dignity and compassion to the end of life. Possible hospice volunteer opportunities in California include:
Administrative volunteers promote hospice care by helping with office mailings, maintaining patient records, filing, computer assistance, answering phones and assisting with various program operations. VITAS volunteer orientation is provided free of charge to help you learn the skills required to be an outstanding administrative volunteer.
Provide assistance to patients with activities provided monthly by Hospice Care Outreach Team (i.e., play games, afternoon tea, reading, knitting).
Visit bereaved caregivers after the patient’s death, help bereaved caregivers fill out post-death paperwork VITAS bereavement specialists provide grief and loss counseling, memorial services, and other support services for family and loved ones
Trained patient-care volunteers provide support, respite care and companionship in the home or nursing home with patients who are actively dying.
Direct Patient Care Volunteers
Trained volunteers visit or telephone patients and families at home, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or inpatient units.
Hair Care Volunteers
Trained patient-care volunteers provide haircuts, shampoos and styling to VITAS patients and families. The hair care volunteers must have a current cosmetology license.
Junior volunteers are a welcomed part of Vitas Volunteer Services. Whether you wish to pursue a career in healthcare or are interested in learning about the rewards of volunteer service, a variety of positions provide unique academic and pre-professional opportunities.
Memory Bear Makers
These volunteers sew memory bears from VITAS patients’ clothes to provide comfort and support to the family. The volunteer must have basic sewing skills. No additional VITAS orientation needed.
Trained patient care volunteers provide support to the patient and family by singing or playing a musical instrument. Learn more about VITAS music therapy options on our Music Therapy page.
VITAS Paw Pals Volunteers
Screened and trained pets and their volunteer handlers visit patients and provide socialization, comfort, life review and more. Learn more about the program on our Paw Pals page.
These volunteers provide comfort and support by taking professional pictures of patients and families. The photography volunteer will provide a picture CD to families.
Veteran Program Volunteers
Volunteers who are trained in the special end-of-life needs of military veterans assist with replacing lost medals, linking veterans to VA benefits, performing life review, visiting on Veterans Day, educating veteran’s organizations about hospice care, and more. For more information on the services VITAS provides to veterans, visit our Veterans’ Care page.
Sign up to become a VITAS volunteer today!