Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

The volunteer program in a Children’s Hospice

Publication year
2008
Author(s)
Duggal, S.; Farah, P.; Straatman, L. P.; Freeman, L.; Dickson, S.
Pages
997-1001
Volume
11
Number
7

BACKGROUND: Canuck Place Children’s Hospice (CPCH) is regarded as one of the leading pediatric palliative care systems in the world. Since 1995, it has been providing hospice care free of charge to children and their families living with life-threatening conditions. The pediatric palliative hospice is a relatively new practice in health care, in comparison to the longstanding adult model. As a result, development and implementation of volunteer programs in pediatric hospices is not currently represented in literature. With over 300 volunteers at present, CPCH has built a successful program that can serve as a model in pediatric volunteer services. OBJECTIVE: To present the unique volunteer roles and experience at CPCH, and share ways volunteers work to support the efforts of the clinical team. Strategies to address current challenges in the volunteer program are also addressed. DESIGN: Descriptive design. SETTING/SUBJECTS: A current CPCH volunteer discusses the volunteer program. Interviews were conducted with the founding volunteer director of CPCH and current volunteers. CONCLUSIONS: The volunteer program at CPCH fully embraces the life of each child and family. Volunteer selection is the groundwork for ensuring a cohesive work force, while training equips volunteers with the knowledge to carry out their role with confidence. Areas of improvement that have been recognized include offering effective feedback to volunteers and delivering adequate level of training for non-direct care roles. The talents of volunteers at CPCH are diverse, and CPCH aims to recognize and thank volunteers for their continuous contributions.

Research abstracts