Motivations, Satisfaction, and Fears of Death and Dying in Residential Hospice Volunteers: A Prospective Longitudinal Study
Studies conducted on hospice volunteers’ characteristics and experiences have been cross-sectional. We conducted a prospective study to examine changes in the volunteer experience over time in a cohort of volunteers during the first year of a new residential hospice.
Eighty-two active volunteers completed an online baseline survey, and of these, 39 completed a follow-up survey at 6 months. The survey included measures of motivations to volunteer, satisfaction with role and with the organization, and fear of death and dying.
Repeated measures analyses indicated that motivations to volunteer remained stable over time while volunteer satisfaction increased with time. Baseline level of fears of death and dying varied by age, volunteer role, and motivations to volunteer and decreased at 6 months.
Volunteering in a residential hospice tends to be a satisfying experience that helps to allay fears about death and dying.