There are three ways to volunteer with our organization:

1. Becoming a Visiting Volunteer

Visiting Volunteers are the greatest strength of our organization. Through their remarkable dedication and kindness, Palliative Care volunteers are available to support clients and their families in so many ways. We offer services to residents throughout the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, whether they are in their private homes or in a long term care facility.

You do not need to be a healthcare provider to support others. Listening is a volunteer’s most valuable skill and responsibility. Palliative Care volunteers care for people of all ages, backgrounds and with all types of illnesses; they are available throughout the course of an illness and in bereavement after death.

The majority of our visiting volunteers are involved in our client/caregiver care. However, some get involved in our Phone Bereavement Program and other special projects we have from time to time.

Client volunteers undertake a 30-hour training program which is a standardized course through Hospice Palliative Care Ontario and is developed on the guiding principles of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association’s “Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care”. Every volunteer must take our “Orientation to Our Service” session and our Phone Bereavement Training Course.

We are committed to providing continuing education opportunities throughout the year, most commonly through our monthly volunteer meetings and outside palliative care – related workshops.

Am I the Right Kind of Person to Become a Visiting Volunteer?

It takes a special kind of person to be a visiting volunteer.

Successful volunteers are people who can explain why they are drawn to this kind of work, have some personal knowledge of what it’s like to have a loved one die and are aware, and accepting, of the differences in the way people cope with illnesses and grief and bereavement.

Successful volunteers are able to listen, be supportive and ensure that the clients know that their time with them is focused on the clients’ and caregivers’ needs. They understand that volunteer work is about creating an accepting and non-judgmental space for conversation and is not a place to vent their own opinions, losses or grievances.

If you have experienced a recent significant death in your own life, we ask that you wait one year to apply to become a volunteer. We want to ensure that you have worked through your own loss and are emotionally prepared for the work of a visiting volunteer.

Although tremendously rewarding and meaningful, visiting volunteer work can be emotionally draining. Successful volunteers develop excellent support systems to nourish their own well- being and have healthy ways of relieving stress. Our best caring support and understanding is offered by our own team of volunteers with each other.

Becoming a Visiting Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us. Here are the Palliative Care volunteer application steps:

After the interview, the Program Manager will assess if you have the right combination of skills, experience, and interests to fit on our team. Then, if selected:

  • You will be registered in a 30-hour volunteer training course
  • You will, while taking the training course, get a Criminal Record/Vulnerable Sector Check
  • You will, after completing your training, complete a post training orientation to our Service where you will sign a confidentiality form.

The associated costs of taking the 30-hour training course will be covered by us. As is the Police Check. There is no specified time you have to commit to our Service but once you have been given a client we expect you to complete your assignment to the best of your ability. We work in teams so help is always available if you are sick or away on holidays. We expect you to attend most monthly meetings, take our Phone Bereavement Training Course and attend ongoing continuing education opportunities – we pay for everything!

We have high expectations of our volunteers but that is because we want to offer the best level of compassionate service possible; as well as peace of mind for our clients and their families/caregivers.

2. Sitting on our Board of Directors

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care is governed by up to a 15-member volunteer Board of Directors. The expertise and commitment of time and resources provided by the Directors, ensures clear and quality leadership.

Annual General Meeting
In accordance with our By-Law Number 1, we hold our Annual General Meeting in our Board Room on the third Tuesday of October at noon.

Monthly Board Meetings
The Board meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month – except July, August and December – in our Board Room at noon.

If you have any interest in becoming a Board member, please contact our Program Manager, Bonnie Bagnulo.

3. Special Projects

On occasion we have special projects when we bring in people with certain expertise. If you are interested in helping us out on an as-needed basis, please contact us.