Hospice care, according to Hospicefoundation.org, is a concept of care focused on supporting patients with a terminal prognosis and their families. Hospice staff members work in conjunction with volunteers to improve patients' quality of life in their final days. The focus is on offering patients pain management, dignity and comfort. The hospice volunteer coordinator, a paid role within a hospice setting, has an integral role in making the work of the hospice possible.
The main responsibility of a hospice volunteer coordinator is recruiting, selecting, training and coordinating volunteers for the hospice. She provide volunteers with guidance, encouragement and coaching, and she develops and implements the hospice's volunteer training program. The coordinator keeps the lines of communication open with volunteers, patients and family members to ensure that a high level of care and compassion is provided. As needed, the coordinator counsels volunteers on how to complete duties better and disciplines or releases volunteers who are not meeting expectations.
The administrative responsibilities of a hospice volunteer coordinator include updating information in medical charts, keeping records on volunteers, writing policies and procedures and sending out correspondence, newsletters and so forth to keep in contact with volunteers. The coordinator might additionally plan networking and community events in order to increase the profile of the hospice to facilitate recruitment.
A hospice volunteer coordinator usually works on site at a hospice facility but may be located off site as well. Much of the coordinator's work is done during a regular 40-hour workweek; however, participation in community events means putting in hours on nights and weekends. Because the coordinator interacts regularly with patients, family members and volunteers who are dealing with the prospect of imminent death, the stress level and emotional toll can be high.
A bachelor’s degree, preferably in social work, sociology, psychology or a related field is generally needed to gain employment in this field. In lieu of a degree, though, applicants might be considered if they have a minimum of 5 years experience in a related role and a high school diploma.
A hospice volunteer coordinator needs to possess both strong administrative skills, like an eye for detail and a respect for protocol, and strong people skills, like empathy and diplomacy. The candidate should possess patience, helpfulness and pragmatism for providing training. Additionally, coordinators need to be open minded when it comes to different lifestyles, spiritual beliefs and cultures because the job entails interacting with patients and family members with a variety of backgrounds.
The average annual earnings for a hospice volunteer coordinator, according to Indeed.com as of April 2010, were $47,000. This is usually a salaried position, and most employers offer a benefits package.