Holding on to What You Have Got: Keeping Hospice Palliative Care Volunteers Volunteering

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Abstract

In all, 119 hospice palliative care volunteers from 3 community-based hospice programs completed the Volunteer Retention Questionnaire (VRQ), a 33-item survey designed for this study. The VRQ asks volunteers to rate the importance of each item to their decision to continue volunteering. The items that received the highest mean importance ratings included enjoying the work they do, feeling adequately prepared/trained to perform their role, and learning from their patients’ experiences/listening to their patients’ life stories. Being recognized (eg, pins for years of service or being profiled in the hospice newsletter), receiving phone calls/cards from their volunteer coordinator on special occasions, and being reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses were among the items that received the lowest mean importance ratings. Suggestions for improving volunteer retention are provided.

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