A dedicated group of volunteers from the Community and from the University of Iowa Student Body visit those Palliative Care patients who are referred to them by the Palliative Care Team. The patients are scattered over several units in the hospital, but are all currently being treated by the Palliative Care Team.
Palliative Care Volunteers may suggest or help with activities and games that can make long hospital hours pass more quickly. They may provide guidance and direction to services offered by the hospital. They may offer to stay with a patient while family takes a break. They may offer to do a “Hand Photo” for patients and their family.
Palliative Care Volunteers often engage patients or their families in conversation that helps them think beyond the hospital walls, or that can help them share important thoughts and memories. Volunteers may read, or sing, or just offer a listening ear.
And Palliative Care Volunteers may simply offer a compassionate presence to Palliative Care patients who are alone and then leave a cheery note to let others know someone was there.
Palliative Care Volunteers are considered a valuable extension of the Palliative Care Team at UIHC. Volunteer reports, submitted at the end of their visits for the day, are reviewed by the team. Several workshops specifically for Palliative Care Volunteers are scheduled each year. These offer additional help and training to make patient visits more effective and also provide interaction with members of the UIHC staff and with other volunteers. The Palliative Care Department also invites Palliative Care Volunteers to attend several of the UIHC professional workshops and conferences.