Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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Between high school and hospice: teenagers volunteering in the US

Based on an original story in the Hickory Daily Record on 2 July 2017.

Volunteering in palliative care attracts many people who have retired, although some services deliberately focus on the involvement of young people.

In the US one of those is the not-for-profit organisation Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care which trained 11 teenagers to serve as VolunTEENs during its recent workshops.

“We trained a good group of teens, and they are already involved in our ambitious summer schedule,” said volunteer support specialist Crystal Burch.

VolunTEENS visit Caldwell Hospice patients and residents at area long-term-care facilities and patients at our patient care units. They work on special projects, help with clerical assignments or in our annual children's grief camp.

“VolunTEENs have so many opportunities to serve; among them are preparing our newsletter for mailing, baking cookies and making ice cream sundaes with residential hospice patients at our patient care units, and helping with yard work for some of our hospice patients at their homes.”

VolunTEENS must be in high school and can participate through their high school's Hospice VolunTEENS club. VolunTEENS training is held each summer. To be selected for the VolunTEENS program, high school students must complete an application and interview process. Only 25 teens are accepted for the program annually.

To learn more about the Caldwell Hospice VolunTEEN program, visit

Hospices funded under the US Medicare Hospice program are required, as a condition of funding, to demonstrate that volunteers provide at least 5% of ‘total patient care’ hours. For a discussion about hospice programs and volunteering in the US, NZ, UK and Australia see our 2016 paper by Alex Huntir ‘Towards a framework for community hospice in NSW (Part 1): A background paper’.  

Based on an original story in the Hickory Daily Record on 2 July 2017.

Pic: Standing (from L) Kendal Murphy, Cassie Roberts, John Pezzi, Nathan Triplett, Nancie Corpening and Katherin Buitrago. Seated are Madison Maloney, Jamie Cline, Peighton Watson, Anabel Zayas and Kendra Triplett. Pic from Hickory Daily Record.



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