Patient and Family Support Volunteers
There are many ways you can make a difference in the lives of others. We are sure that no matter which area you choose, you will enjoy being a part of the Empath Health family of volunteers. Patient and Family Support Volunteers can choose to visit patients in their homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes or our inpatient Suncoast Hospice Care Centers.
The following training is required for all volunteer opportunities listed below. Additional training for special roles are listed under each opportunity.
Volunteer Orientation (4-Hours)
This training will provide you with an overview of the Empath Health integrated network of care. At the end of the training session you will choose the role that best fits your goals as a volunteer.
Patient and Family Support Training (12-Hours)
Prepares you for working with patients, families and PACE participants.
Suncoast Hospice Care Centers
Provide support to patients and families in an inpatient care setting in one of our Care Centers.
Locations: Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg.
Suncoast Hospice Home Care Teams
Provide support to patients and families in their homes.
Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facilities
Provide support to patients and families who reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Bereavement Volunteer Program
Be a supportive presence to those who have lost loved ones. Make bereavement support phone calls or in-person visits as directed by bereavement staff. Phone calls can be made from a volunteer’s home. Additional three-hour Bereavement Support training is required after completion of Patient and Family Support Training.
Communicate with patients and families to provide reassurance, assess additional needs and be a listening ear. Daytime and evening opportunities available. Additional training is required after completion of Patient and Family Support Training.
Communicate with patients and families to provide reassurance, learn of additional needs and be a listening ear. Daytime and evening opportunities available. Additional training is required after completion of Patient and Family Support Training.
Children’s Community Program's
Support ill children and their caregivers and siblings. Provide tutoring to children or their siblings, companionship to children so their caregivers can take a break, as well as Reiki, music or recording stories with children. Deliver food or supplies to families and assist during Family Fun Nights and other special events.
Assist and participate with retreats and support groups for children and adults including helping the counselors with set-up and special activities. Provide Reiki to those who are grieving and assist with bereavement retreats.
Patient and Family Support volunteers comfort patients by providing holistic services in the following modalities:
- Aromatherapy – The use of essential oils to promote health of the body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy training required.
- Reiki – The use of energy therapy techniques to promote relaxation, reduce suffering caused by anxiety/agitation and create a sense of peacefulness. Reiki training offered for Patient and Family Support and Bereavement Support volunteers.
- Licensed Massage Therapy – The use of hands-on techniques delivered by Florida licensed massage therapists to promote relaxation and reduce pain.
- Music – The use of music as a tool, gift or opportunity to bring peace and comfort. Musicians may perform for patients or share musical interests with patients via music CDs or iPods.
Pet Volunteer Visits
Specially-trained pets and their owners team up to visit patients and families in our three Care Centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or patients’ homes throughout Pinellas County. These pets can make an instant connection, bring joy and comfort and open a door for sharing pet stories and memories.
Eligible dogs, cats, rabbits or other pets must be evaluated and certified before placements. Breeds known for aggressive behavior are excluded, including Chow, Doberman Pinscer, Rottweiler, Dalmatian, Pit Bull and others.
- Empath Health volunteer orientation
- Empath Health patient and family support training
- Proof of pet’s health screening and vaccinations
- Certification by an approved evaluation organization (fees vary)
- Project P.U.P.
- American Kennel Club (A.K.C.) Canine Good Citizens Certification
- Therapy Dogs International
- Pet Partners
Register for volunteer orientation by filling out our information request form or going to our calendar to select a registration date and fill out a form. For more information, call volunteer services at (727) 523-3440.
Suncoast PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care)
- Participants’ Homes –Support participants in their homes. Provide companionship, caregiver respite, errand running or escorting to medical appointments (through PACE-provided transportation).
- Training: Additional two-hour PACE Orientation is required after Volunteer Orientation and Patient and Family Support Training
Veterans Serving Veterans
As a Veteran Serving Veteran volunteer, you will have the honor of extending a warm hand of friendship to military veterans with serious illness and those nearing the end of life. This service offers a special bond only those with military experiences share and a way to pay tribute to those who have served our country – your military brothers and sisters. Visit military veteran patients, take part in special pinning ceremonies, present appreciation certificates, share holiday events or help interview veterans who share life and military stories through the Veterans History Project.
Perinatal Loss Program
Support mothers and families who are facing the loss of a child during or shortly after birth. Advocate for mothers’ needs during their hospital stays, support families while they make important decisions and provide a listening ear to families after the births and in their time of grief.
- Physicians make referrals to program
- Training: Volunteer Orientation and Doula Volunteer Training. Patient and Family Support Training not required