Volunteer satisfaction and program evaluation at a pediatric hospice

Elena Pascuet, Lise Beauchemin, RĂ©gis Vaillancourt, Lloyd Cowin, Andy Ni, Marion Rattray
Journal of Palliative Medicine 2012, 15 (5): 567-72

RATIONALE: Volunteers are essential to the functioning of palliative care programs and serve as important members of the hospice team. They devote much time, effort, and diverse skills and talent to enhance the quality of care at Roger's House--a pediatric palliative care hospice.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate volunteering in a pediatric palliative care hospice and to assess the level of satisfaction from the perspective of hospice volunteers.

METHODS: A survey was sent to all active Roger's House volunteers. Questions were related to their demographics, their overall impression of their volunteering experience, and 47 closed (fixed-choice) statements, divided into 6 parts: 1) Orientation; 2) Training; 3) Feedback/Performance; 4) Communication; 5) Social Contacts; and 6) Value and Respect. Each statement was rated by the participants using a six-point Likert rating scale.

RESULTS: Volunteers fully completing the survey were 159 online and 4 on paper, giving a response rate of 66%. The greater number (66, 40.5%) of respondents were 50 years or older and they were mostly female (141, 86.5%). Successes identified included the volunteers' orientation, training, and feedback and performance. Challenges identified included certain aspects of communication, social contacts, and respect/value for the volunteer.

CONCLUSION: Volunteers at Roger's House are generally satisfied with their volunteer position and the environment in which they work. Greater insight into volunteer satisfaction and factors that bring feelings of reward and/or dissatisfaction to the volunteers have allowed Roger's House to identify informed and effective interventions to improve the quality of and satisfaction with the hospice volunteer program.

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