Donate and Volunteer
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Providence Sound Hospice volunteers serve patients and families throughout Mason, Thurston, and Lewis Counties. As members of our hospice team, volunteers play a key role in helping patients and families cope with practical, emotional and spiritual challenges at the end of life.
Being a hospice volunteer can be a deeply rewarding, even life-changing, experience. Volunteers gain satisfaction from knowing that they make a very real difference in the lives of those they serve. And volunteering with hospice can also foster increased self-awareness, as well as a greater appreciation of what truly matters in life.
If you're interested in volunteering with Providence Sound Hospice, please review our current volunteer opportunities below and then submit a volunteer application. Once we've received your completed application, we'll contact you to schedule an orientation interview.
Please note: Volunteers must be 21 or older for all volunteer positions except administrative positions (administrative volunteers must be 18 or older). In addition, volunteers who are interested in working directly with patients and their families must not have had a personal loss within the last 12 months.
Patient care volunteers offer essential practical and emotional support to hospice patients and their loved ones. They may provide respite for caregivers, companionship for patients, transportation to appointments, or assistance with errands, household tasks, meal preparation and yard work. Patient care volunteers must complete our core training and patient care volunteer training.
Note: Because patient care volunteers serve patients living in homes and facilities throughout our community, we recommend that volunteers have their own vehicles. We will attempt to place volunteers with patients who live near them.
Bereavement volunteers provide regular contact (through telephone calls and/or one-on-one visits) to adult clients who have experienced the death of a loved one. They may also help facilitate grief support groups. Bereavement volunteers must complete our core training and bereavement volunteer training.
Administrative volunteers perform the administrative tasks necessary to support hospice office operations. These tasks may include filing, copying, word processing, collating, data entry, assembling mailings and making phone calls, as well as working on special projects. Administrative volunteers must complete our core training. On-the-job training is also provided at the hospice office.
Complementary therapy volunteers are licensed, certified professionals who provide massage, music therapy, hypnotherapy and other approved services to hospice patients. Services are provided in the patient’s residence. Complementary therapy volunteers must complete core training and patient care volunteer training, and they must currently be licensed or certified by the state of Washington.
Animal-assisted activities/therapy (AAA/T) volunteer teams (handlers and their dogs) visit patients and families in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult family homes and private residences. AAA/T volunteers must complete core training and patient care volunteer training.
In addition, AAA/T volunteers must currently be registered as a Pet Partners team through the Delta Society or Canine Companions, have at least three months' experience as an AAA/T team, and pass a separate team evaluation geared toward volunteering with hospice patients. Learn more about volunteering with your dog as an AAA/T team.
Numerous studies have shown that interacting with animals can have significant physiological and psychological benefits for people.
The presence of a friendly companion animal can help to lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and isolation, and foster a greater sense of well-being. In fact, simply petting an animal can trigger the release of beneficial hormones that enhance moodTo make these therapeutic benefits available to our patients and their families, Providence Sound Hospice offers animal-assisted activities/therapy (AAA/T) as part of our Complementary Therapy program.
Animal-assisted activities/therapy (sometimes referred to as "pet therapy") is a visit or series of visits from a volunteer AAA/T team (a handler and his or her dog) to a patient or family who has requested them through their hospice care team. These visits are intended to encourage emotional connection, alleviate stress and feelings of isolation, and promote self-esteem. They can also provide opportunities for life review and the sharing of memories and stories.
During a visit from an AAA/T team, the patient and/or family members can:
- Pet, hug, or talk to the dog
- Throw a ball for the dog to fetch
- Give commands to the dog ("sit," "lie down," "get"); this can be especially empowering for younger patients and/or family members
- Simply sit or lie quietly with the dog at their feet or by their side
Our volunteer AAA/T teams are rigorously screened for appropriateness in working with hospice patients and families. Handlers and their dogs must pass a certification with a specialized hospice team evaluation. In addition, handlers must successfully complete our Core and Patient Care volunteer trainings.
Providence Sound Hospice's volunteer AAA/T teams visit hospice patients and families in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult family homes, and appropriate private residences. AAA/T teams are typically assigned to patients/families based on their geographic location and availability.
While the primary focus of each visit is on the interaction of the dog with the patient and/or family members, volunteer AAA/T handlers are also trained to be a compassionate presence and provide emotional support as needed.
To become an AAA/T volunteer, you must:
- Complete the certification with Connecting Canines or the Pet Partners Program with your dog and maintain current registration as a Pet Partners team
- Perform at least three months of volunteer service with your dog as a Pet Partners team at another facility or organization
- Submit a Providence Sound Hospice volunteer application and participate in an interview with our AAA/T program coordinator
- Pass a team evaluation with your dog at Providence Sound Hospice
- Complete Providence Sound Hospice volunteer trainings