Let's Celebrate Volunteers!

Image Above: Hospice of the Western Reserve's volunteer Walk to Remember 2017

It’s National Volunteer Week; and time to celebrate! This past week, I was in Cleveland working with the Hospice of the Western Reserve.  They held two banquets celebrating their 3,000 remarkable volunteers.  The speaker was local Clevelander, Alex Sheen, founder of “Because I Said I Would” movement for the “…betterment of humanity through promises made and kept”.  HWR realizes their volunteers play an enormous role in the success of their organization and offer volunteer opportunities in many, many areas of their organization.

What are our volunteer’s worth? According to a recent report by the nonprofit coalition, Independent Sector, more than 63 million Americans volunteered about 8 billion hours, which would equate to about $193 billion based on that hourly value. In Hospice, we literally could not do what we do without their willing and...

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The Value of Volunteers

I was touring a hospice care center when the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies drew me to the kitchen, where I found a group of girls from the local high school. They told me that once a week they come to bake cookies for the families and patients in the care center. What a terrific way to enable young people to express their budding instincts to serve – and to create ardent ambassadors for hospice in the community.   

When I’m assessing a hospice program, one key measure of quality is the number of active volunteers and their level of involvement. How many volunteers do you have? What kind of things do the volunteers do for hospice? How long have they been volunteering? As we move forward in this new world of hospice and health care reform, volunteers are going to have an even greater impact on the lives of people who are facing serious illness and death. 

What kind of person is likely to volunteer at a hospice? Most often, volunteers will be...

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