All volunteers complete a provincially accredited hospice volunteer training program that is delivered through a variety of formats including online training modules, group sessions and recorded training videos. Although the training modules are subject to change each year, the following list outlines the kind of information a volunteer can expect to learn during a hospice volunteer training program.
Module 1: Introduction to Hospice Palliative Care
This session provides participants with an opportunity to learn more about the concept and history of hospice and palliative care.
Module 2: Role of the Volunteer and Understanding Professional Boundaries
This session is designed to clarify the objectives and importance of hospice volunteers, and will outline the role of volunteer, including an understanding of the boundaries involved in hospice volunteering.
Module 3: Communication Skills
Good communication is a vital component of the client/volunteer relationship. In this session, participants learn the types of communication, the importance of effective communication skills, the barriers they might encounter and the importance of confidentiality.
Module 4: Pain and Symptom Management
This module will explore the importance of pain management as well as the sources and factors affecting client pain.
Module 5: Understanding the Dying Process
Participants will learn the common signs and symptoms of the dying process and the difference between medical emergency versus imminent (expected) death
Module 6: Spirituality
This module helps the volunteer understand the role of spirituality and religion in death and dying. It will explore spiritual distress and resiliency and well as methods of spiritual support.
Module 7: Grief and Bereavement
An overview of grief, bereavement and mourning will be presented, along with an exploration of the nature of grief and grief theory.
Module 8: Care for the Caregiver
Topics within this module include the types, duties and importance of caregivers, as well as stress, burnout and compassion fatigue and strategies for coping with stress.
Module 9: The Family
This session is designed to help volunteers gain awareness of the family as a system, how the roles within a family can change in response to illness and death, and how volunteers can support family members.
Module 10: Psycho-social Issues and Impact on Illness
Participants learn about the psycho-social issues and common fears in hospice palliative care, how volunteers can help, the general treatment or therapy regime, and common illnesses experienced by those receiving palliative care.
Module 11: Cultural Considerations
Understanding diversity, cultural and personal cultures and the impact on volunteer caregiving will be explored.
Module 12: Ethical Issues in Hospice Care
Participants learn about some of the ethical issues within palliative care and how to approach ethical dilemmas within the values and principles they might encounter as hospice volunteers. Limits to the volunteer role and the importance of boundaries will also be addressed.
Module 13: Infection Prevention and Control
This session will look at the chain of infection and how to break it, hand hygiene, routine practices, the transmission of respiratory infection and other infection control measures.
The training concludes with a casual evening gathering at which time the participants are given the opportunity to engage in a question and answer period with veteran Hospice Northwest volunteers.