During National Volunteer Week (April 7-13) in the U.S., the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization salutes the estimated 420,000 trained hospice volunteers who provide more than 19 million hours of service to more than 1.5 million patients and their families every year.
“Hospice volunteers play an indispensable role in enabling hospice and palliative care organizations to offer the best care possible for patients living with life-limiting illness, their families and caregivers,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “By sharing their time, energy, and expertise, volunteers bring compassion and caring to the lives of those in need.”
The Independent Sector estimates an hour of volunteer time in America to be worth $24.69. At this valuation, hospice volunteers provided more than $469 million worth of services reports NHPCO.
“Under Medicare, it is federally mandated that trained volunteers provide five percent of all patient care hours,” continued Banach. “This unique requirement reflects the vital role that volunteers play in the hospice philosophy of care and ensures a hospice program has roots deep in the community. Additionally, the value of time provided to the field is significant.”
Hospice volunteers often provide companionship and support to those receiving hospice care or provide respite care for caregivers. They can also assist with hospice administration, raise awareness and contribute to educational programs, support grief and bereavement activities, provide fundraising support and much more.
To help legislators better understand the many benefits of hospice care, NHPCO and Hospice Action Network launched the My Hospice Campaign in 2018. My Hospice was created to reinforce the value of the Medicare Hospice Benefit among policy and healthcare decision makers and to foster a policy environment that will support patient access to high quality, comprehensive hospice and palliative care.
Read hospice volunteer stories, as well as stories from families, professionals and patients on the My Hospice blog or to learn more about hospice or to find a hospice in your community, visit the NHPCO website.