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Volunteering at Hospice of West Alabama

Volunteers are the heart of Hospice of West Alabama (HOWA), providing a special kind of caring and compassion for our patients and their families. Each year, more than 200 of our volunteers make a difference in the lives of so many people. Whether it’s offering a listening ear to patients and families, assisting with daily household activities for patients, providing grief support, companioning to loved ones or sharing their personal expertise to help promote hospice care, the hours given to HOWA families by our volunteers can be the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Volunteers fill many important roles at HOWA, including patient care, grief support, community outreach and administrative support.

Training is provided through an independent self-study course that can be accessed online or by DVD, provided by the volunteer coordinator. Please call (205) 523-0101, or complete the Volunteer Application, to schedule an appointment with the volunteer coordinator for more information.

What Do Volunteers Do?

Volunteers are needed daily at HOWA throughout the year, and in all areas of service. You can choose the type of volunteering you’d prefer based upon your background and area of interest, including:


Plain and simple, volunteering means doing something “good” for someone, without expecting anything in return. As a patient care volunteer for HOWA, you “do good” every day. It takes very special, caring people to give of themselves as unselfishly as our patient care volunteers. If you’d like to be one, here are some examples of the activities you’ll assist with:

  • Reading to a patient, or holding a hand
  • Staying with a patient while family members take a needed break or keep an appointment
  • Shopping or doing errands for a patient
  • Listening
  • Helping patients write or tell their life stories
  • Cooking, light household chores
  • Providing help with makeup and hair
  • Working on crafts or other projects

Volunteers at HOWA play a major role in helping families who have lost loved ones through the grieving process. Our grief support volunteers provide necessary follow up information, emotional support and companionship to clients, under the supervision of a grief support services manager. Grief support services are available to anyone in the community, regardless, of whether or not their loved one was a HOWA patient. This can include:

  • Acting as a grief companion by calling or visiting with grieving families and individuals to offer emotional support
  • Facilitating and assisting with support groups and programs related to grief and loss

At HOWA, the community outreach volunteer provides support for the speaker’s bureau program. Volunteers work directly with volunteer coordinator and the public relations coordinator to provide community outreach presentations related to the benefits of hospice care and HOWA services. This can include:

  • Facilitating presentations through the speaker’s bureau program
  • Assisting with HOWA events, such as health fairs and senior expos
  • Helping coordinate and participating in community awareness and education programs

The key to a smoothly running organization is effective administrative support at all levels – and administrative support volunteers fill that bill. They lend a hand to complete many behind the scenes tasks, including:

  • Filing
  • Preparing mailings
  • Stock medical supplies
  • Data entry
  • Seasonal plantings & grounds activities