More than 1,100 volunteers are active in countless programs that benefit Tidewell patients and families throughout Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Whether it’s running errands, delivering meals or sitting vigil with a patient, volunteers are deeply involved in the team approach that is Tidewell’s community of caring. No task is too small or without impact.

According to a National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization report, an estimated four-fifths of the people involved in hospice care in the U.S. today are volunteers, providing more than 5-million hours of service annually.

Volunteer Opportunities

In fact, the important role of volunteers is built into Medicare’s regulations, which require that hospices use volunteers at a level that equals at least 5-percent of the total patient care hours delivered by all paid staff.

In human terms, the value of Tidewell volunteers is beyond measure. They bring support, joy, levity and companionship through Complementary Services programs such as pet therapy, clown circle, therapeutic touch and much more. Tidewell volunteers also provide an all-important community connection for patients and families — a connection that can often be lost when both patient and family become focused inward in dealing with illness.

And what do Tidewell volunteers receive in return? The value is inestimable. By helping Tidewell, volunteers receive the beautiful compensation of knowing they have enhanced the life experience of others and strengthened the fabric of their community.

Volunteers receive an orientation to Tidewell during an extensive training course. Each circumstance is different, but Tidewell generally recommends that prospective volunteers wait approximately one year after the death of a loved one before volunteering to work with patients.