Organizational Relationship

The hospice volunteer is a member of the hospice volunteer program with responsibility to that program. The hospice volunteer works under the direction and supervision of the Volunteer Coordinator.

Purpose of Position

Responsible for providing therapeutic non-medical support as needed to the hospice patient and family on a volunteer basis. The intention of the Pet Therapy volunteer is to help relieve stress, provide comfort, and increase the patient and family’s sense of well-being.

Basic Qualifications

  • Completes the application packet, interview, volunteer training, health screen, background check, volunteer and dog receive personal VNA identification badge including name and picture, completes in-field volunteer training. Volunteer has a valid driver’s license, car insurance, and vehicle.
  • Is in agreement with the hospice mission and philosophy and demonstrates capabilities, commitment, and drive to fulfill its goals with enthusiasm.
  • Demonstrates acuity in the following: teamwork, communication, respect for individual belief systems, confidentiality, punctuality, reliability, empathy, and emotional health.

Therapy Dogs Qualifications

  • Certification of good health from veterinarian, current health records, current vaccination requirements, fecal salmonella test (negative results required for admission), all updated annually.
    • Current rabies, distemper or titer, hepatitis or titer, leptospirosis or titer, parainfluenza or titer, parvovirus or titer, fecal, heartworm, type of heartworm medications.
  • Behavior certification & current membership at Therapy Dogs International.
    • Dogs must be at least 2 years old, or at the discretion of the certified evaluator, show proper acceptance of strangers, walk on a loose lead, able to walk through a crowd, sit and permit petting. Dogs must show no resentment, extreme shyness, panic, barking, nor aggressiveness. They must show no more than casual interest in another dog or distractions.
  • Dogs must be bathed and groomed within 24 hours of the visit.
  • The owner is responsible for cleaning up any elimination mishaps that occur inside or outside the patient location. Be prepared to remove any solid waste and dispose of properly.
  • Bring a container from which your dog can drink.

Performance Responsibilities

  • Makes a time commitment of at least 2 hours per week for a minimum of 12 months. Commitment is renewed annually thereafter.
  • Sets weekly schedule with the Volunteer Coordinator and patient caregiver and provides services on a schedule basis.
  • Attend mandatory education and appreciation in-services.
  • Volunteer and dog (1 dog at time) visits patients and families as needed to provide comfort and support.
  • Dogs must be under control and on a short leash attached to the owner at all times. Owner is responsible for the dog’s behavior at all times and must be able to anticipate undesirable actions. Be aware of all potentially hazardous situations and remove your dog if necessary.
  • Uses listening skills effectively to provide emotional support to the patient/family.
  • Travels to patients’ homes, the hospital, or nursing facility.
  • Maintains open communication with team members by reporting client and family progress via documentation, telephone, or meetings with the Volunteer Coordinator and/or the in-patient case manager. May participate in client care conferences and/or Inter-Disciplinary Team (IDT) meetings.
  • Submits weekly service hours and accurate and objective documentation on each volunteer activity to the Volunteer Coordinator on the “Volunteer Clinical Note” form.
  • Maintains a neat, appropriate and professional appearance; wears name/I.D. badge.
  • Ensures compliance with State and Federal regulations.
  • Ensures strict compliance with HIPAA confidentiality standards.
  • Follows all policies, rules, and regulations of VNA
  • Complete annual compliance requirements

Please note: This is not an exhaustive listing and may be supplemented as necessary.