Trends in the Use of Volunteers
A collaborative study including Dr. Bettye A. Apenteng, assistant professor of health policy and management (HPM), Dr. Daniel Linder, assistant professor of biostatistics, Dr. Sam Opoku, temporary instructor of HPM, and Dr. Raymona Lawrence, assistant professor of community health at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Georgia Southern University, examines trends in the use of volunteers in US Hospices. Using a longitudinal sample of freestanding Medicare-certified hospices in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia, this study sought to explore the factors associated with volunteer demand and describe how volunteer use has changed from 2000 to 2010. Results of the study indicated a temporal decline in the extent of use of volunteers in freestanding hospices was observed over the study period. Findings indicated that both organizational and environmental factors influence the use of volunteers in US freestanding hospices. Given the importance of volunteers, both in the preservation of hospices’ philanthropic traditions and in reducing health care expenditure at the end of life, research is needed to further evaluate the factors associated with this decline. Emphasis should be placed on improving the retention of the existing hospice volunteer workforce.