Commonly Asked Questions

It's common to have questions before ,you begin a hospice volunteer position. Please check out the information below. If you still have questions, feel free to call the Mayo Clinic Hospice office at 507-284-4002 or 800-679-9084 (toll-free).

What is the expected time commitment?
It varies, but when a hospice volunteer is assigned to a family, the visit is most often once a week for one to four hours. All assignments are based on the individual volunteer's availability.

How many patients do I work with at one time?
Hospice volunteers usually work with just one patient at a time. A hospice family, however, may have several volunteers assigned if multiple volunteer visits are needed each week.

Where do the patients reside and what about transportation?
Most hospice patients live in their own homes, but some live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Volunteers need to provide their own transportation and can choose to be reimbursed for mileage expenses.

Do volunteers get another assignment right away?
If a hospice volunteer has established a close relationship with the patient, he or she will be encouraged to take some time off before accepting a new assignment.

Are volunteers supported?
Yes! Support and educational meetings are held on a monthly basis for hospice volunteers. The volunteer coordinator keeps in close contact with each volunteer throughout the duration of the assignment. Volunteers may also contact other hospice team members for support or information.

What if I have a concern while visiting a patient?
Volunteers are instructed to call the Mayo Clinic Hospice office at any time during the visit if they have a question or concern. An "on-call" nurse is available after office hours for consultation. A hospice nurse will come to the home if needed.

What personal qualities are sought in a hospice volunteer?
Each volunteer has a strong desire to help and is able to focus on the needs of the patient and family. Hospice volunteering can be intense emotionally, so volunteers must be emotionally stable and up to the task. It is essential that volunteers accept where patients and families are in their acceptance of the dying process and are comfortable talking about death and dying as patients desire. Volunteers are as dedicated and responsible as the professional team members.

Why become a hospice volunteer?

  • Personal satisfaction from knowing you've made a difference in someone's life and receiving gratitude in return.
  • Opportunity to share your personal gifts and talents with others in need.
  • Greater self-knowledge from the volunteer training program and from relationships with patients and families.
  • Opportunity to put your faith or values into action. Volunteers tell us they often experience spiritual growth from supporting a person through the dying process and become more focused on those aspects of their own life that matter most.
  • Reward of belonging to a caring hospice team of fellow volunteers and professionals.