Companion for the Home

Supervisor:  Director of Volunteers

Work Description:  Companions offer friendship, socialization, respite care and non-medical support to the patient and caregiver.

Duties:  Provides regularly scheduled visits with the patient.  Visits may be strictly social or could include light meal preparation, shopping, running errands, providing a steady arm to move about the house, light housekeeping chores, transportation, and other tasks as reasonably requested by the family. An attempt is made to match volunteers and families so that time spent is valuable for both.  Companions do not do personal care or administer medications.

Maintains the privacy and security of all confidential and protected health information.  Uses and discloses only that information which is necessary to perform the function of the job.

Requirements: Must complete the 16-hour Volunteer Training Class and an application.

Must agree to abide by the Foundation’s policies on confidentiality, conflict of interest and sexual abuse. The Foundation performs a criminal background check on all volunteers and requires that a liability release be signed.

Annual requirements include that the volunteer have a PPD (TB) test, a Hepatitis B Declination/vaccination, review HIPAA/OSHA requirements and attend at least one in-service educational opportunity provided by the Foundation.

Qualifications: Patience, compassion, flexibility and good active listening skills are needed. Companions need to be able to establish and maintain boundaries. The volunteer must be able to put the patient’s interests first.  Being well grounded and possessing good common sense are important.

Time Requirement: Generally assignments are made once a week for 2-4 hours.  Visits may be shorter for patients in nursing homes, those with dementia, or those who are not fully conscious.

Location: Companion visits take place in the home of the patient whether it be a private residence, assisted living facility or nursing home.

Reporting:  Volunteer visits are part of the patient’s plan of care and weekly reports of visits must be submitted within two weeks to become part of the patient’s chart as required by the state of Maryland.

Evaluation:  Evaluations are completed annually by the Director of Volunteers.

Risks: Driving and sharing close personal space with patient.  Standard precautions should be practiced whenever there is a risk of infection. You will be notified of specific precautions when necessary.  Close relationships can result and the volunteer must be able to effectively cope with death and grief.  Grief counseling is available if needed.

Benefits: The benefit of helping others who are not able to repay you is priceless.  Volunteers are invited to a variety of social/appreciation events.  Continuing education in end-of-life issues is available to all volunteers