During the week of April 10 through April 16, many Americans will be consumed by their annual tax returns and the approaching tax deadline. However, there is something else going on that week that deserves our attention, it’s National Volunteer Week.
This is a time to recognize and celebrate the thousands of people who share their time and talents in communities across the country.
Most deserving of our recognition are hospice and palliative care volunteers. These dedicated individuals make sure that the patients and families they support find hope within each day, have their dignity preserved, and are surrounded by love even at the final moments of life.
NHPCO provides some general information to demonstrate the dedication and commitment of U.S. hospice volunteers.
- There are an estimated 430,000 trained volunteers working to support the work of our nation’s hospices and the patients and families under their care.
- More than 19 million hours of service are provided by hospice volunteers every year.
- NHPCO reports that 60% of hospice volunteers assisted with direct patient care; 20% provided support for clinical care; and 19% provided general program support.
- The typical hospice volunteer devoted 46.3 hours of time in 2014.
- Patient care volunteers made an average of 20 visits to hospice patients.
- Medicare regulations require that at least 5% of patient care hours be provided by volunteers.
Here are some national statistics on volunteerism in America from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- About 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2014 and September 2015.
- The volunteer rate for men is 21.8 percent while 27.8 percent of women volunteer in the U.S.
- Volunteers spent a median of 52 hours on volunteer activities during the period from September 2014 to September 2015. Among volunteers, median annual hours spent on volunteer activities ranged from a low of 36 hours for those 25 to 34 years old to a high of 94 hours for those over the age of 65.
- Individuals were most likely to volunteer for religious organizations, followed by educational or youth service organizations.
To learn more about volunteering, visit NHPCO’s Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice website. Use the “Locate a Hospice” tool to find a find a hospice in your area and contact them directly to learn about specific opportunities and training.
In the video below, Mercedes Ibarra shares her story and the value she finds in volunteering.