Volunteer Programs and Services

Volunteer Visits

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

  • Volunteer support may include, but is not limited to:
    • Talking, listening, reading and playing games
    • Assistance with letter writing
    • Spiritual support
    • Relief for family members or other caregivers
    • Traditional tea service
  • Volunteers serve in a variety of roles within the hospital, hospice, residential facilities and private residences.

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 and other activities. Visiting in-home volunteers are available for patients and their families 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.

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.

Vigil volunteers may join you hours or days before death. For long vigils, volunteers may take shifts.

The vigil process may include any or all 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

Complementary Therapies

Our trained volunteers offer a variety of relaxation therapies such as reiki, therapeutic touch and healing touch 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. Other legacy activities include letter writing, scrapbooking or compiling memory boxes.

Tea Service

Volunteers at St. Michael’s and Burnaby Hospital Palliative Care Unit serve afternoon tea and cookies to patients and family.