Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Advanced Practice Nursing

First Supervisor

Tammy Roman

Second Supervisor

Diane Mick


Background and Significance: The House of John is a two-bed comfort care home located in rural, upstate NY and is staffed, in part, by a pool of adult volunteers. This researcher is an active member of that volunteer group. Volunteers are required to complete an eight week training course before they can begin caring for residents and fulfilling their volunteer hours. An estimated 60% of the active volunteers participated in their initial hospice volunteer training more than 5 years ago and have had little or no continuing or ongoing education since that time. In February of 2009, the newly organized Interpersonal Relations Committee of the House of John conducted a needs-assessment of the volunteer pool, at the request of the Board of Directors. The results indicated that refresher training classes on various topics relating to care of the dying were desired by the volunteers. Purpose: While caring for residents at the House of John, the researcher has witnessed the reluctance of some volunteers to provide direct patient care, including administration of medications. Therefore, this project was undertaken to increase the knowledge base and confidence of veteran hospice volunteers at a comfort care home, by providing continuing education in the form of refresher classes. Methods: The educational interventions consisted of three refresher classes, provided between June 2010 and June 2011, and were offered to all active volunteers at the House of John. Topics of the classes included pain and anxiety control and medication administration, hands-on care, and the dying process and were presented in a group format. Participants were asked to complete a program evaluation at the end of each educational intervention to assess the effectiveness of the training. Results: Forty-four volunteers participated in the three classes with 41 completing an evaluation. 88% of volunteers completing a refresher class evaluation strongly agreed that the information provided will be useful to them as a hospice volunteer and 80% strongly agreed that their confidence level as a hospice volunteer would improve after participating in the training. Implications for Practice: This project was successful in meeting the continuing education needs of a group of experienced hospice volunteers at a small comfort care home, increases the body of knowledge related to hospice volunteer training, and reinforces the need for ongoing training for volunteers that provide care to individuals at end-of-life.

Included in

Nursing Commons