How to Volunteer
Volunteer caregivers are drawn from the community-at-large, and are able to offer 4 hours of service a week when there is a resident at Tara Home.
Volunteers receive an initial training including hands-on care, emotional and spiritual needs of the terminally ill and an understanding of the dying process. Additional education is provided in monthly meetings.
The Process in 5 Steps:
1. You contact Tara Home at 477-7750 and leave a message that you are interested in learning more and include your name and phone number. You will be contacted by a Tara Home volunteer. At this time, you will be asked to provide some information about yourself (including your name, phone number, how you became aware of Tara Home, your occupation, whether you have experience elsewhere as a volunteer, etc). You will learn about the requirements for becoming accepted into the program.
2. You will have an evaluation interview with the one or two members of the Tara Home Volunteer/Training Committee.
3. You will provide 2 letters of reference (preferably one from your profession and a friend) – addressing your ‘fitness’ for this kind of service—for example, you might ask your letter writer to discuss your reliability, compassion, interpersonal skills; etc. These letters should be submitted by the end of the training.
4. You will attend the training.
5. You have an end-of-training discussion with a designated representative of Tara Home to determine your continued interest, to discuss any concerns you may have, receive any feedback or suggestions for your continued participation, and work out a schedule for your volunteer service.
You should understand that at any point in the process, you or Tara Home may decide not to continue to pursue your status as a volunteer. More experience with dying might be needed; a person might need more time to process their own experiences with grief, etc. Issues may not surface until later in the process of becoming a Tara Home volunteer.
Prospective volunteers are required to attend the training to learn hospice philosophy, theory of palliative care, the Buddhist view of death and the process of dying; communication skills; maintaining appropriate boundaries; confidentiality requirements, and an understanding of the losses we undergo at the end of life. These topics are covered during 2 or 3 evening sessions and include an orientation of the physical setting of Tara Home. In addition, there is one all-day session in which we learn symptoms of pain management and practice elements of bed-side care.
Monthly meetings are often scheduled and may take the form of caregiver support sessions, in-service trainings devoted to topics relevant to the current guest at Tara Home or trainings that address general patient care or general topics intended to foster greater capacity for care giving.