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Central Coast Hospice seeks volunteers for Northern SLO County area 

hospice featVolunteers critically needed to provide in-home companionship, respite care to patients

–Central Coast Hospice is seeking volunteers to offer patients and their families comfort, support and companionship during a patient’s most challenging days, weeks and months.

Many have been touched by the experience of hospice care – either within their own family or through a friend, neighbor, or co-worker. Volunteers report they are motivated by a desire to give something back, but soon find that the spiritual and emotional rewards they receive far outweigh the time and caring they contribute.

Arlene van Rooyen, a North County resident who has been volunteering with the organization for nearly three years states, “My life has been so blessed that I wanted an opportunity to give back in some way. Hospice is such a perfect place to do that and in return, my life is made even richer.”

The gift of a volunteer’s presence and concern provides patients with an awareness that they are cared for and are not alone. Families and patients continue to express a deep appreciation for the selfless contributions of the many volunteers who visit their loved ones. Volunteers also express gratitude for the relationships they’ve formed with the patients they’ve helped.

“To be able to share in people’s lives at such a poignant time for them, listening to their stories, helping in little ways to make them more comfortable–it is so meaningful to me!” Arlene states.

All interested community members are asked to attend a four-week volunteer training prior to being matched with a patient. The upcoming training will take place at the Central Coast Hospice San Luis Obispo office over four consecutive Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., from January 27-February 17. Lunch, snacks, and a training manual will be provided, pre-registration required. For reservations and more information, click here.

Who can be a Central Coast Hospice Volunteer? People of diverse ages (18 yrs. and older) and backgrounds join the hospice team to offer services to patients in their homes or in nursing homes or other care facilities. They often help to provide the emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical support patients need during their last months. Volunteers simply need a caring heart and a willingness to serve. Hospice’s comprehensive volunteer training program provides an awareness of patients’ needs and prepares them to participate fully with the hospice team.

Volunteers are never asked to do something they are not comfortable doing. If the intensity of working with patients and loved ones is not the right fit, they can support our work in a host of other important ways (office, events, outreach, etc.).

What Does a Volunteer Do?

Hospice volunteers can do just about anything! As a hospice volunteer, you will be given choices as to how much and what types of things you want to do. Some examples of typical volunteer duties are:

  • Listening to a patient’s concerns.
  • Being a comforting and supportive presence.
  • Hold a hand, bake a cake, listen to cherished memories, pat a shoulder, give a hug, touch a heart, or change a life (maybe your own).
  • Engaging in the patient’s hobbies; for example, playing a board game or discussing current events.
  • Informing other hospice staff of the needs of the hospice patient and family.
  • Running errands or doing light housekeeping for the patient and family.
  • Encouraging the patient to share her/his life story.
  • Allowing time for the caregiver to take care of her/himself.
  • Providing bereavement support to families following patient’s death (additional training provided).
  • Providing respite to the patient’s family so they can run errands, take a walk, enjoy time with friends, etc


Volunteers are asked to be available to serve patients 3-4 hours a week.

What Training Will I Receive?

If you choose to work directly with patients and loved ones, you will experience the fulfillment of helping to support patients and families through one of life’s most complex passages. All volunteers receive training to ensure they feel comfortable with their tasks. Training covers the following areas:

  • Philosophy of hospice care.
  • A comprehensive overview of services offered by the hospice.
  • Physical, emotional, social and spiritual issues that people can encounter at the end of life.
  • Individual needs, including emotional support, emergency procedures, and universal precautions.
  • An overview of chronic and life-limiting illnesses.
  • Effective communication skills when speaking with the patient and family members.
  • Information about interpersonal family issues and relationships.
  • Boundaries for the hospice volunteer and the patient and family.
  • Basic information about grief and loss.


Hospice volunteers work in the office too! These duties include:

  • Mailings and photocopying
  • Preparing admission packets for the nurses
  • Data Entry
  • Preparing for volunteer training
  • Filing
  • Assisting with events


How do I Get Started?

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, call today to schedule an interview with the volunteer coordinator, who will explain more about the application process, discuss the range of opportunities and advise you of the dates of our next training sessions. Or simply RSVP for the next training! For more information on the next training, visit the website at, e-mail: or call: (805) 540-6020 and ask for the volunteer coordinator.




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Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.