Hospice Volunteers Bring Compassion and Dedication in their Service to Others

Nov 05, 2013, 09:00 ET from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Reports more than 400,000 trained, hospice volunteers serving in the U.S.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans are proud to give of their time and talents to those in need. Every year, an estimated 64 million Americans donate more than 8 billion hours of service to worthwhile organizations and causes, reports the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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There is one group of dedicated volunteers that deserve recognition for their compassion and selflessness – and that would be America's hospice volunteers who support patients at the end of life and their family caregivers.  

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that in 2012, more than 400,000 trained hospice volunteers gave more than 19 million hours of service to hospice organizations in their communities.

Many hospice volunteers are inspired to help others and support hospice because of their own experiences with the compassionate care hospice provided to a dying loved one.

People who are unfamiliar with hospice care assume that this volunteer work would be taking place in a setting of gloom and despair. Hospice volunteers tell a different story— the time that they spend with those nearing the close of life are most often filled with hope, dignity, and love.

They make sure make sure that the people they care for and their families find hope within each day, have their dignity preserved, and are surrounded by love even at the final moments of life.

Actress, and NHPCO Hospice Ambassador Torrey DeVitto, widely recognized for her roles on the hit television series "Pretty Little Liars," "Army Wives" and "The Vampire Diaries" has been a hospice volunteer for six years.  DeVitto began working with NHPCO on the national level as its first hospice ambassador in 2011.

"As a hospice volunteer myself, I've seen firsthand how dedicated individuals provide companionship, support, and a shoulder to lean on at a time when it's needed most," remarked DeVitto. "I'm working to help younger people understand the value of hospice and hopefully to get involved as volunteers with their local hospices."

Hospice care in the U.S. originally began as a volunteer led movement at the grassroots level forty years ago. Those dedicated volunteers were on a mission to help bring comfort and dignity to the dying. Now, hospice is an integral part of the American healthcare landscape that cares for more than 1.5 million patients and their family caregivers every year.

"The true value of hospice volunteers cannot be measured in terms of hours or dollars," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. "Their time, whether it is spent at the bedside, in the office, or doing errands, often is given in memory of a loved one, thus becoming a living legacy of caring and love for patients, and of healing for the volunteer."

You can learn more about hospice by contacting your local hospice or visiting NHPCO's Caring Connections at www.CaringInfo.org/volunteer

Anita Brikman
NHPCO Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications
Ph: 703-837-3154

SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization