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how did you use Hospice volunteers?
Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 7:08 PM
Joined: 11/27/2019
Posts: 19

We are contemplating starting home hospice soon and was wondering how many hours per week is typically used or requested for volunteers to give some respite?
Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 7:34 PM
Joined: 5/16/2017
Posts: 632

We asked what was offered.  They would tell use what was available + it depended upon the status of the patient as far as I understood
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 12:56 PM
Joined: 6/5/2014
Posts: 1508

Hi 4klh, and welcome to the boards.

In my own experience, and in talking to others, you will typically get an aide 2-3 times a week (although I have heard of getting up to 5 visits). Perhaps it differs with each provider, but these visits will typically entail bathing/washing up your LO & changing the bed linens (if needed). Figure about an hour. Maybe they can do a few other short tasks, but I wouldn't expect much more out of them.

You can also ask about volunteers. These are not always available, and sent where they're most needed. They will do (within reason) whatever you need, but their main goal is to give the primary caregiver some time away. We got a weekly 2 hour visit from a very fascinating elderly woman who loves to stay busy, and she would play music & engage my DW with whatever worked on each visit.

I forgot to mention that Hospice can provide you with an up to 5 day respite in which they transport your LO to the facility of your choice (if it can be arranged, or their own facility) at no charge. We were offered this once every other month. It was wonderful to have that "vacation," but I would still go in to visit & make sure things were going OK.

Rescue mom
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 3:30 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 1530

Keep in mind, as feudman said, Hospice aides/staff, and Hospice volunteers, are usually two different things. The main thing, IME, is that volunteers—who are often lovely and provide good company—are just that: volunteers. They may or may not be available, and it’s at their convenience (more or less). 

They can absolutely let a caregiver get a break of a couple hours or so, but they may not be available exactly when you want, or as much as you might like. If you have something you absolutely have to do, my Hospice always said don’t totally depend on the volunteer to be there. 

The Hospice aides, who provided more medical-type help, were wonderful. They came 2x a week, did showers, medical checks, provided some meds, etc., visits would range between 15 minutes and an hour (showers take longer than checking medical basics like heart and cognition etc). Some can give massage, or do some light PT.

Much of what they do depends on how they assess your LO needs.

They helped my PWD immensely, along with providing a lot of goods (like adult diapers) and equipment including wheelchair and shower chair and things I didn’t even know existed, but sure made things easier. It’s defintely a worthwhile service; it’s a shame more people don’t get them involved sooner.

But getting serious respite help —more than a couple hours—is a more rare situation, 

River Styx
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 9:47 AM
Joined: 1/30/2019
Posts: 43

Our volunteer came for 2-3 hours once a week and was a wonderful person.  I would use her time to run a quick errand, take a bath or a nap.  Sometimes we just sat and talked.  Mom was not able to talk so the one on one conversation she might have had with the patient just did not happen.


Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 10:30 AM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 5105

The first hospice we used had volunteers but the second one had none is our area! The first one provided us with a music volunteer. She came once a week and played our electric keyboard for my mother's and my enjoyment. I never left-she stayed an hour and was often not available. They also had a lady who brought her dog over to my house on occasion. I think she did it twice in the year we were with them. I never used or asked about respite volunteers since we hire our.