Hospice Palliative Care

Volunteer Visits

Burnaby Hospice Society volunteers provide emotional support and practical help to people who are facing a life-threatening illness and respite support for those caring for them. Visiting volunteers are available mornings, afternoons and evenings at the Palliative Care Unit in Burnaby Hospital and at St. Michael’s Hospice Centre.

Some areas of volunteer support may include, but are not limited to:

  • Talking, listening, reading and playing games
  • Assistance with letter writing or other small errands
  • Traditional tea service
  • Spiritual support
  • Respite for family members or other caregivers

In-home Volunteer Support

In-home volunteers are important for those who may not have access to the support of family and friends. Our volunteers offer emotional and practical support through conversation, companionship, assistance with small errands, and other activities. Visiting in-home volunteers are available for patients and their family at home or in retirement residences and long-term care facilities.

Caregiver Support

We recognize the 24-hour a day responsibility of being a caregiver for a loved one. We provide resources for caregivers and referrals to support groups. Our volunteers are available to family members who need a break from the bedside of the loved one, and also provide a compassionate listening ear for caregiver support.

Sitting Vigils

Vigil volunteers provide the support and physical presence that patients and families may need during a loved one’s final moments of life.
The vigil process may include any of the following:

  • Being a calm presence
  • Sitting together
  • Talking and listening
  • Shared silence
  • Healing touch
  • Reading of inspirational or spiritual text
  • Requested rituals
  • Inspirational music
  • Lighting candles

Vigil volunteers may come in hours or days before death. For long vigils, volunteers may take shifts.

Complementary Therapies

Our trained volunteers offer a variety of relaxation therapies such as reiki, therapeutic touch and massage, which can help ease pain, reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Life Review

Life review is an important part of bringing one’s life to a close. As life ends, we want to know that we have truly been seen and that our life has had value and meaning. Patients and families can make an appointment for the services of a volunteer trained in life review techniques to help them tell their story.