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Professionalization of hospice volunteer practices: What are the implications?


Volunteers are increasingly considered as core members of interdisciplinary palliative care teams, and thus no longer “informal providers.” The definitive trend towards formalizing the role of hospice volunteers is indicated not only by national work to develop best practices (Ferris et al., 2002), but also by efforts of the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation to develop quality indicators for accrediting volunteer agencies. This movement emerged from a need to coordinate, define and standardize the role of volunteers in palliative care settings, as well as to manage organizational resources and maintain standards of excellence. The purpose of this forum is to highlight the possible impact of this development on the nature of volunteer contribution to end-of-life care.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Manal Guirguis-Younger, Saint Paul University, 223 Main Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 1C4. E-mail:
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Palliative & Supportive Care
  • ISSN: 1478-9515
  • EISSN: 1478-9523
  • URL: /core/journals/palliative-and-supportive-care
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