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Here with Comfort – Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo Volunteers

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Hudson is Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo's resident therapy dog.

Our Volunteers

Did you know that Hospice was started by a group of volunteers? Our organization started with 120 volunteers in 1978. Today, we celebrate having over 900 volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and remain a crucial part of our mission today. Our volunteers provide invaluable support to our patients, families, and staff. Volunteers are integrated into all our programs (Hospice, Home Connections, and Essential Care) as well as throughout our administrative departments across our campus. If you are a student needing service hours, retired and looking to give, or someone who falls in between, we welcome all interested individuals to join our volunteer team. We will provide you with all the training and support you need to be successful in your efforts. 

Volunteer Teams:

Patient Support/Direct Care Volunteers

Our Patient Support Volunteers and Direct Care Volunteers work directly with our patients and families by providing companion care in their homes, nursing homes, or our inpatient unit in Cheektowaga. Share your time and support by being a friendly visitor for a patient, providing respite for a caregiver, helping celebrate a patient’s birthday and delivering a birthday cake, visiting with your certified pet therapy animal, and much more!

*Our Direct Care Volunteers are individuals who have a current New York State RN license or are a certified Home Health Aide (HHA) and are able to provide hands-on care in addition to companion care.

Patient Support & Direct Care Opportunities

  • Visit patients in their homes, nursing homes, and/or our inpatient unit

  • Veterans helping Veterans - We Honor Veterans

  • Provide light housekeeping or yardwork for patients

  • Nurses’ station receptionist (inpatient unit in Cheektowaga)

  • Refreshment cart (inpatient unit in Cheektowaga)

  • Birthday Brigade – deliver birthday cakes or treats to patients

  • Provide patient/caregiver transportation

  • Pet Therapy (Pet therapy certification required)

  • Hairdresser (Must have current license)

  • Notary

  • Language Interpreter

  • Work with bereaved families
  • Essential Care for Children's programs: Storm Clouds & Rainbows and Camp Blue Skies
  • Life Stories: Everyone has stories to tell and memories to share. Our specially trained volunteers work directly with a patient to create an audio recording. Help patients share their life stories, memories, and messages while leaving a legacy for their loved ones. 

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Patient Support or Direct Care Volunteer, contact Marsha Grimes at (716) 989-2018 or mgrimes@palliativecare.org

Patient Support & Direct Care Volunteer Requirements

Must be at least 16 years old.

In order to ensure the safety of the patients and families you’ll come into contact with, we need you to complete the following steps:

Step #1: Complete a Volunteer Application (including names and contact information for two references).

  • After you attend orientation, we send your references a form to complete and return to our office.

Step #2: Attend new volunteer orientation (four, three-hour sessions).

  • Dates vary but generally orientation runs from 6pm to 9pm once a week for four consecutive weeks at our Como Park campus in Cheektowaga.
  • Complete a form* (with your social security number) so we can run a criminal background check.
  • For Direct Care Volunteers only***: Provide a copy of a current New York State Registered Nurse (RN) license or Home Health Aide (HHA) certification.

Step #3: Provide us proof of a physical from the past 12 months.

  • We will provide you with a form that your MD/NP/PA must complete.  Note: the date at the bottom of the form must be the date of your actual physical, not the date the physician completes the form.  

Step #4: Schedule a meeting with our Employee Health Nurse where she will do the following:

  • Take a copy of your photo ID (current driver’s license, student ID, or passport).
  • Review your rubella and rubeola immunization records.
    • If you cannot locate your records, we can write a script for you to get bloodwork to prove you’ve had the vaccines; just send us a copy of the results
    • If you never received these, we can administer the MMR to you, free of charge
    • Review the physical form your physician completed.
    • Administer a PPD*, an injection to determine if you have tuberculosis.  Within 48 to 72 hours, you must return to our Mitchell Campus to see if you are reacting to the shot.
    • Administer a drug test* via oral swab.
    • Our nurse is generally available Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm but other arrangements can be made.  Appointments generally take 30 minutes. 

Step #5: Receive a flu shot during flu season.

  • We’ll need a copy of your flu shot paperwork.  If you opt not to get one, you’ll need to wear a mask when with patients and sign a document agreeing to that.

Please note that annually you need to:

  1. Meet with our Employee Health Nurse in order to have your vitals checked and a PPD administered (15 minute appointment).
  2. Receive a flu shot OR sign a declination form and agree to wear a mask.
  3. Attend one in-person training session (120 minutes long) to ensure you continue to have the knowledge to effectively volunteer.

*If you are under 18, we do not run a background check.  Also, a guardian will need to be present when you meet with our Employee Health Nurse in order to authorize the PPD and drug test.

Download the Patient Support/Direct Care Volunteer Requirement Check List


Administrative Volunteers

Our Administrative Volunteers provide support to our staff in a variety of departments throughout our campus by answering phones, greeting visitors, assembling mailers or packets, filing, and cashing out customers in our on-site Bistro.

Administrative Opportunities

  • West Herr Comfort Cafe
  • Greeting campus visitors
  • Phone receptionist
  • Filing and mailings

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an Administrative Volunteer, contact Lynsey Danat at (716) 989-2014 or ldanat@palliativecare.org.

Administrative Volunteer Requirements

Must be at least 16 years old.

Because you’ll be working on our campus and will have access/exposure to confidential and organizational information, we require the following from you:

Step #1: Complete a Volunteer Application (including names and contact information for two references).

  • We’ll send your references a form to complete and return to our office.

Step #2: Attend new volunteer orientation (three, three-hour sessions).

  • Dates vary but generally orientation runs from 6pm to 9pm once a week for three consecutive weeks at our Mitchell Campus in Cheektowaga.
  • Complete a form* (with your social security number) so we can run a criminal background check.
  • Bring a copy of photo ID (current driver’s license, a student ID, or passport) so that we can take a copy for our records.

*If you are under 18, we do not run a background check.

Download the Administrative Volunteer Requirement Checklist


Special Events Volunteers

Special Event Volunteers assist Hospice Buffalo with annual fundraising and awareness events, including our Spring Bouquet Sale and Memorial Walk. Opportunities are available throughout the year, offering something for everyone.

Special Events Opportunities

  • Spring Bouquet Sale
  • Memorial Walk
  • Memorial Ceremonies
  • Taste of Buffalo
  • Chiavetta’s BBQ
  • Share the Buffalo
  • Holiday Gift Wrapping
  • Light-A-Life Tree Ceremony
  • Gardening
  • Treasured Threads: Are you a crafter who loves to sew? We are looking for sewers assist with our Treasured Threads program. This program involves specialized Hospice volunteers creatively piecing together “Treasured Threads” of a loved one to create a tangible lasting memory. Pillows and teddy bears are our most requested items.

If you are interested in learning about becoming a Special Events Volunteer, contact Lisa Nestico at (716) 989-2360 or lnestico@palliativecare.org.

Special Events Volunteer Requirements

Must be at least 14 years old.

The nature of special events work necessitates that you complete the following: 

Step #1: Complete our Volunteer Application.


Community Service/Service Learning

If your teen needs volunteer, service learning or community service hours for school, religion or a community organization, Hospice is the perfect place! A flexible schedule and multiple opportunities are available for teen volunteers. Multi-generational volunteering is a great experience. In fact, many of our youth volunteers continue to help Hospice after their assigned hours have finished, because they find their volunteer experience so fulfilling. Special Events volunteers must be at least 14 years old and Administrative volunteers must be at least 16 years old. To get involved, call Lisa Heintz at (716) 989-2025.

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Or download and mail us your application

Volunteer Orientation Dates:

Orientation sessions are postponed until further notice.
If you have any questions, please contact the volunteer office: call 716-989-2014 or email volunteer@PalliativeCare.org

Attendance at all sessions is mandatory.
Orientation attendance is required for all volunteers wanting to interact directly with our patients/families, as well as administrative/clerical. 
Orientation takes places at:
Hospice Buffalo, 
225 Como Park Blvd.,
Cheektowaga, NY

Click Here to View Photos of Volunteer Appreciation Dinner 2016

Volunteer Appreciation Day 
Click to view photos

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“You folks do a really nice job of thanking us volunteers and we definitely appreciate it. As a volunteer I, in turn, would like to give a "shout out" to the Hospice staff for helping to make volunteering so rewarding. Their friendliness and general good natured-ness truly enhances the experience. Whenever people ask me what I like about volunteering at Hospice I always mention that they have such great people working there.... and it makes all the difference in world. So once again, THANK YOU ALL for making a world of difference!”

~Paul, a Bistro Buddy