Hospice Palliative Care Volunteers as Program and Patient/Family Advocates

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The objectives of this study were to examine (1) the extent to which hospice palliative care volunteers are involved in program and patient/family advocacy, (2) volunteers’ willingness to engage in program and patient/family advocacy, and (3) volunteers’ perceived needs for training on how to be an effective advocate. Thirty-four hospice palliative care volunteers responded to the survey developed for this study. The majority of the volunteers surveyed consider themselves advocates for their programs and many of those, who have not already done so, would be willing to promote their program (eg, give a community presentation, talk to local media) if asked. Half of the volunteers were aware of unmet needs of the patients/families they supported, and just over one-third wanted to advocate on behalf of their patients/families but did not know what to do or where to go. Recommendations for volunteer training are made.

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