About our volunteers
We have more than 450 volunteers who work in a variety of areas, some in the hospice. They work alongside paid staff in many ways to enhance the quality of life for patients and their families.
Volunteers are a vital part of the life and philosophy at Mercy Hospice Auckland. Patients and family members often feel more comfortable talking to someone who is not as emotionally involved as their own family and friends. Importantly, volunteers have the time to listen.
Volunteers are trained to follow hospice procedures and standards in confidentiality and all are reference checked before starting. They attend a 25-hour training programme held twice a year.
Their role is to help ill people to cope with life and to live fully until they die. They also support family and friends in dealing with the practical and emotional burdens of the illness and to come to terms with bereavement when someone dies. They offer compassion, comfort and companionship. Volunteers work under the supervision of the Volunteer Coordinator.
Volunteers work in the St Joseph’s Inpatient Unit every day on a roster basis, helping with serving refreshments and with a variety of other jobs to make the unit run smoothly. They also work in our hospice shops and provide goods for the shops. Volunteers help with creative music and art, arrange flowers, provide aromatherapy and massages, clean our car fleet, help with pastoral care, with fundraising, transport, bring their pets to visit patients, help at reception and with clerical work and work as translators.
Homecare volunteers are assigned to a patient and family and follow them through their illness either by supporting the caregiver, offering time out and companionship and practical support to the patient.
Some volunteers work with the Grief Support Coordinator to help bereaved families as part of the Bereavement Support Team.
Life story facilitators record people's life stories for them to leave for their families. The biography is a special record for families and future generations.
Our Volunteer Coordinator Julie Reid supports our volunteers and plans all visits to patients. Volunteers are directly responsible to her.
People often become volunteers after a family member has attended the hospice; however we advise people to wait a year after bereavement before starting as a volunteer.
We look for people with;
- Warmth and openness
- Maturity and self confidence
- Sensitivity and tolerance
- Good communication skills
- Tact and discretion
- Self awareness
Volunteers are usually available 3-4 hours weekly, depending on their assigned tasks. All volunteer services are offered free of charge and we welcome people from all backgrounds, religions and races.
Volunteers do not:
- Provide nursing care
- Make decisions about the need for medication or measure out doses
- Do housework
- Cook, other than reheating and presenting meals and preparing drinks
- Provide intimate personal care
- Lift patients, although they may assist others to move patients