The Visiting Volunteer offers compassionate support to the dying person, their family and friends. The end-of-life journey can be very emotionally exhausting for a person and their loved ones, and visiting volunteers are available to companion and support.
- are carefully selected
- undergo in-depth training and exposure to service
- receive ongoing education and support
- visit people where they are, at home or in hospital/hospice
- are there to listen without judgment
- give respite
Grief Support Volunteer
To become a grief support volunteer you must first complete the 30 hours of visiting volunteer training and a further 30 hours experience as a visiting volunteer within McKenney Creek Hospice Residence. Once completed, a further 9 hours of grief training must be done to offer 1-1 grief support to family members..
Grief Support & Visiting Volunteer Training
Our 30-hour comprehensive training program is based on the Canadian Palliative Care Association standards, and provides education on topics such as:
- Listening and Self-Awareness
- Companioning the Dying
- Family Support
- Grief and Loss
- Spirituality at End of Life
The 30 hour training is a pre-requisite for those wanting to offer emotional support and companioning to individuals and families at end of life.
This course is designed for those with the intention of volunteering in both the Hospice and in the Community; and also comes highly recommended for professionals and community members looking to enhance their current understanding of End of Life issues, loss and grief. After completing the society’s training, volunteers will be given an orientation to McKenney Creek Hospice and also receive at least 3 “buddy” shifts with an experienced volunteer before you will be asked to visit on your own.
We also hold monthly support meetings for all volunteers to attend.
Visiting Volunteer training courses are offered once or twice a year, as needed. Typically one course is offered in the fall and the second course is offered after the New Year, usually late February or early March.
Men are encouraged to apply, as we often have requests for male hospice/grief support volunteers.
Things to consider when applying to be a Hospice Visiting Volunteer
Volunteer Services are an integral component of the Hospice program. In considering whether Hospice volunteering is a service you want to give at this time, please consider the ideas expressed below: You have an interest in the Hospice concept, and have the desire to help others. You have some awareness of what is drawing you to Hospice work, and are willing to explore this in depth. You are sensitive to the special needs of dying patients and their families, and have chosen to work to support them. You are aware of the losses you have experienced, and your way of grieving, and have a sense of perspective about life and death, loss and grief. You are open to others who may have different values, beliefs, ways of living. You are able to listen well, and to validate others where they are, rather than where you might believe they should be. As you may be called on to work in a variety of areas and perform many different tasks, self-reliance, flexibility and adaptability are assets. Realistic awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to set limits are important. You like working as part of a team, and be willing to explore ways of supporting and being supported by other team members. You are dedicated to your own growth and on-going learning. Your personal strengths will likely include warmth, concern for people, sense of humour, approachability. You are willing to commit yourself to the training and to the volunteer responsibilities that follow and to gaining an understanding of the standards and policies of the Hospice program. You are not bringing personal agendas or “missions” to your Hospice work, and understand that our work is not to change people, but to be with them where they are. If you have experienced a significant personal loss within the past year, one which you are still actively grieving, please consider carefully your present ability to take on a demanding training program. This work can intensify your own grief. We will review each applicant individually in this regard. As working at Hospice can be stressful at times, it is important that you have good supports and ways of taking care of yourself, meeting change and the unexpected with ease.