Volunteer With Hospice

Do you want to provide a valuable service to our community that can add insight and meaning to your own life? Do you sometimes long for a greater sense of emotional and spiritual well-being and connection with others? Do you want to make a lasting difference in another person's life?

If so, then volunteering for Spectrum Health Hospice and Palliative Care may be right for you. We invite you to explore the many opportunities within our patient care team and organization.

Spectrum Health Hospice serves end of life patients in a wide geographic area across 13 counties in West Michigan. Volunteers choose the geographic area, role and the amount of time they would like to serve. Most volunteers donate one hour per week; however, others donate more or less time as their schedule allows.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and at least one year past the date of a significant loss. There is no cost for the training and training materials. Therefore, we do ask volunteers to commit to volunteering for at least one year after training.

Roles and Opportunities

Here are some of the ways volunteers help us every day:

  • Bedside harpist 
  • Caregiver relief support for families 
  • Compassionate Connection: arm and hand massage 
  • Cosmetology and barber services (Must have current Michigan license) 
  • Eleventh Hour Support 
  • Friendly visits to home or to long-term care or assisted living facilities 
  • Grief Companion: one-on-one bereavement support 
  • Housework and yard maintenance 
  • Massage therapists (Must have current license) 
  • Personal historian recording the life stories of patients 
  • Pillow Partners: seamstresses/quilters 
  • Photography services 
  • Reiki therapy (Must be certified) 
  • Singer/Instrumentalists: music at the bedside 
  • Welcoming Spaces: background music in hospital settings (abbreviated training requirements) 
  • Visiting dog: certified therapy dogs and their owners


Must be at least 18 years old.

Upon application and training, volunteers must consent to a criminal history check, provide a copy of driver’s license to process the criminal history check, submit to a fingerprinting background check (completed during training), have photo taken for a Spectrum Health name badge, and provide two references.

All Hospice volunteers are required to show proof of annual TB testing. Volunteers who have never been tested, or were tested more than a year ago, must complete a two-step TB test before they can work as a Hospice volunteer. If you have received a TB test within the past year and can provide documentation confirming the test results, you may use it for one of the required TB tests. Upon completion of orientation, all Hospice volunteers are required to receive an annual TB test thereafter.

All Hospice volunteers are required to have a flu shot at the annual flu shot clinic in the Fall thru Hospice. If you received a flu shot from another source, you must provide documentation to Hospice. The official flu season is October 1 through March 31.

Report any physical limitations so that you may be assigned to duties that will not jeopardize your health or interfere with the functions of the Volunteer Program.

Be able to provide your own transportation or have public transportation available.

Complete Hospice Volunteer Training. If you have graduated from a similar course elsewhere, please submit a description of the training program to the coordinator for review.

All volunteers are encouraged to attend Hospice in-service sessions each year. Hospice holds in-services on various topics. They are designed to assist you in your role as a volunteer.

Have time available in your schedule to commit to volunteering on a regular basis. Any changes in your availability should be reported immediately. Some volunteers give several hours a week, others a few hours a month.

Have made an appropriate adjustment to significant losses in your own life. We reserve the right to decide whether a volunteer, under stress, should continue in the program or delay participation.

Be at least one year past the date of experiencing a significant loss.

Have examined his/her feelings about death and loss, showing insight and a sense of having reasonably “come to terms” with them.

Have the personal qualities of positive approach to life, maturity, empathy, flexibility, a sense of humor, and a willingness to help others. The person should also have the ability and willingness to work with a team.

Respect the confidentiality of Hospice patients and families and all information about the patients and families conveyed by staff or coming from the family itself. You will be required to sign a confidentiality statement. In addition, all volunteers are required to complete HIPAA training at the time of their initial orientation.

Next Steps and Orientation

All volunteers participate in informative training. Whether you are working with patients or projects, you will receive in-depth instruction to help you volunteer with confidence.

Training topics include:

  • Hospice philosophy, goals and services
  • Comfort care vs. curative care
  • Team approach to care
  • Patient/family rights, including confidentiality
  • Listening and communication skills
  • Physiological, psychosocial and spiritual care
  • Grief support
  • Family dynamics
  • Boundaries with patient/family caregivers
  • Medical emergencies/death
  • Safety policies and procedures
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Documentation

Contact Information

For more information on hospice volunteering, call 616.391.4240 or send an email to hospice.volunteers@spectrumhealth.org.

Additional Information

Please note that we schedule five to six volunteer trainings per year, and we rotate geographic location, days of the week and training class times. If you provide your contact information, we will contact you with announcements of upcoming trainings and registration instructions. Please email your contact information (phone number and mailing address) to hospice.volunteers@spectrumhealth.org.