Volunteers: A Mission-Critical Calling

Every Wednesday, Dottie, a retired nurse, comes to Delaware Hospice’s Dover office to make friendly check-in calls to patients in the Delaware Palliative and Delaware Transitions programs. She also audits and organizes the nurse supply closet, in addition to helping out with our education programs. John spends much of his time out in the community visiting patients, sometimes sitting vigil when one is nearing the end of their journey. Sharon can be found taking care of clerical and fundraising tasks in the Newark office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon until closing, with the regularity and dedication of a paid employee.


If you’ve ever wondered how a nonprofit like Delaware Hospice can provide top-quality care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, you’ve just met one of the key factors in the equation: volunteers like Dottie, John, and Sharon.


Volunteers do more than stuff envelopes.


Along with a mission-driven staff, expert leadership, and generous donors, volunteers play a critical role in helping Delaware Hospice provide expert, compassionate care for serious illness. Volunteers can be found in every single department at Delaware Hospice – including in the volunteer office!


In 2019, more than 400 volunteers ranging in age from 16 to 90 contributed over 26,000 hours of service – delivering patient supplies, greeting visitors, picking up prescriptions, making follow-up phone calls to grieving families, giving rides to adult daycare, sewing lap blankets, and helping children work through their losses at Camp New Hope. Their donated time was worth more than $479,000 and freed Delaware Hospice to direct funds where they’re most needed.


“When Delaware Hospice calls me, I know I can make a difference because someone needs me now,” explains Mike Raser, who runs errands, transports patients, and sometimes sits vigil. As an Army vet, Mike also plays a special role in Delaware Hospice’s Vet-to-Vet program.



Each volunteer becomes part of the Delaware Hospice family.


Every volunteer at Delaware Hospice is treated as if they’re regular staff. While there’s no minimum service-hour requirement that many other organizations have, Delaware Hospice volunteers must keep their paperwork up to date and report their service hours. (To receive reimbursement from Medicare, we’re required to document that 5% of all of our staff hours are provided by volunteers.)


The volunteer program exhibits the same compassionate team-focused approach found throughout Delaware Hospice’s staff. Rolonda often accompanies a new volunteer on their first patient visit to help break the ice, or serves as a source of support to the volunteers themselves. She knows she can call on Mike when a patient needs a visit, or on Beth when she needs to get supplies to a patient’s home. She tracks volunteers through family illnesses and sends birthday cards. And every volunteer is celebrated at a special gathering in April for National Volunteer Month. Whether someone gives one hour a year or one hundred hours a year, every volunteer second is valued — and adds up to make Delaware Hospice the one-of-a-kind healthcare nonprofit it is.


We always need new volunteers who are willing to share their time and talents with the community! We’ll help you find a volunteer role that fits your skills, schedule, and interests. Apply to volunteer today at www.delawarehospice.org/volunteer or call our offices throughout the state.


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