A Survey of Hospice Volunteer Coordinators: Training Methods and Objectives of Current Hospice Volunteer Training Programs

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Abstract

Introduction:

Currently more than 5800 hospice organizations operate in the United States.1 Hospice organizations are required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to use volunteers for services provided to patients.2 Although CMS regulates the amount of hours hospice volunteers should provide, there are currently no national requirements for objectives of training.3 The purpose of this study was to gather information from a sample of hospices regarding volunteer coordinator background, current training for volunteers, importance of training objectives, and any comments regarding additional objectives.

Methods:

Representative state hospice organizations were contacted by e-mail requesting their participation and distribution of the survey throughout their member hospices. The survey asked demographical questions, along with ratings of training components based on perceived level of importance and time spent on each objective.

Results:

A total of 90 surveys were received, and the response rate was undeterminable. Results showed the majority of hospices were nonprofit, had less than 100 currently trained volunteers, and maintained an average daily patient census of less than 50. Questions regarding training programs indicated that most use live lecture methods of approximately 19 hours or less in duration. Overall, responding hospice organizations agreed that all objectives surveyed were important in training volunteers.

Conclusion:

The small number of respondents to this survey makes generalization nationwide difficult, however it is a strong starting point for the development of further surveys on hospice volunteer training and achieving a standardized set of training objectives and delivery methods.

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