Trends in the Use of Volunteers in US Hospices: 2000 to 2010

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American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine




Purpose: Using a longitudinal sample of freestanding Medicare-certified hospices in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia, this study sought to explore the factors associated with volunteer demand and describe how volunteer use has changed from 2000 to 2010.

Results: A temporal decline in the extent of use of volunteers in freestanding hospices was observed over the study period. Findings indicated that both organizational and environmental factors influence the use of volunteers in US freestanding hospices.

Conclusion: Given the importance of volunteers, both in the preservation of hospices’ philanthropic traditions and in reducing health care expenditure at the end of life, research is needed to further evaluate the factors associated with this decline. Emphasis should be placed on improving the retention of the existing hospice volunteer workforce.