Allina Health requests hospice care volunteers as nationwide shortage continues

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (Jan. 11, 2023) – Organizations across the country experienced a volunteer shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for many, those numbers have not rebounded. In 2018, 576 people served as Allina Health hospice volunteers in the Twin Cities metro area. Now, the number is down to 220. As we begin 2023, Allina Health is working to remind people about the benefits of volunteering.

Julie Herrmann is a hairstylist who has served as a hospice volunteer since 1996. She provides free hair care services at J.A. Wedum Residential Hospice in Brooklyn Park.  

“It is a great honor to serve people,” said Herrmann. “We often have meaningful conversations while people are getting their hair done, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a comforting, listening ear. They typically leave my chair feeling good, and I take pride in that. The atmosphere at Wedum is quiet, serene and loving, and I value my experience with those staying here, their families, as well as the employees and volunteers.”  

Volunteers are essential to hospice care. The 1982 Hospice Medicare Benefit requires volunteers to make up 5% of all hospice providers’ total patient hours.

“There are many ways to serve people facing end of life, as well as support their families and caregivers. We have volunteers who provide office support, companionship, meal preparation, therapy dog visits and more,” said Jessica Hamel, director, Volunteer Services at Allina Health. “Research shows volunteering has both physical and mental benefits for the volunteer, which is crucial as people continue to prioritize mental health and social connectedness in the wake of the isolation that came with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Allina Health hospice volunteers support patients living in 33 Minnesota counties. Hospice volunteers go to the patients which may include private homes, nursing homes or Allina Health’s two hospice facilities: J.A. Wedum Residential Hospice in Brooklyn Park and Homestead Hospice House in Owatonna.

People who are interested in learning more about hospice volunteer opportunities or any volunteer opportunities at Allina Health, can visit this web page < https://www.allinahealth.org/about-us/volunteer/hospice-volunteer-opportunities> or call 612-262-7108.

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 10 hospitals / 13 campuses, 15 retail pharmacies, and many specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services.