Victoria Hospice volunteers give the gift of time with generosity and compassion, and we are so grateful for them. They’ve always been an integral part of our circle of care. Volunteers continue to show up for so many essential roles, even with the changes and disruption brought about by the pandemic.
In an Oct. 1 statement, the British Columbia Hospice Palliative Care Association (BCHPCA) calls for hospice volunteers to be deemed essential for the future of quality hospice palliative care and be recognized as essential positions during and post COVID19.
In the statement, Victoria Hospice CEO and BCHPCA Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Harter reflects on the comprehensive training required by hospice volunteers.
“Trained compassionate volunteers are the missing link to prevent people from dying alone and they are trained to provide grief and bereavement services to front line professionals while reducing the operational and direct care burdens that many face day in and out. COVID19 has widened the existing gaps in our healthcare system and the time is now to respond and lean on hospice societies. We have a responsibility to build a strong community support for the dying and grieving,” the statement says.
“This unique requirement reflects the vital role that volunteers play in the hospice philosophy of care and ensures a hospice program has roots deep in the community. Additionally, the value of time provided to the field is significant. Hospice Volunteers in BC have a high retention rate with an average length of engagement of 7 + years,” he says.