Make a Difference in your Community

Volunteering at High Peaks Hospice (HPH) is a deeply rewarding and unique opportunity. HPH volunteers are an exceptional group of caring and compassionate people who each bring a rich variety of life skills and interest to our hospice service.

“Our volunteers frequently share that they get as much out of volunteering, if not more, than the patients they serve.” – Tracee Carson, Volunteer Coordinator

Our volunteers are an invaluable part of the Hospice team. No matter if they volunteer a couple hours per month, several hours per week, or only occasionally to fill a specific need, they help us fulfill a variety of functions. Our Volunteer Coordinators do a wonderful job getting to know each volunteer, allowing them to successfully match volunteers up with fulfilling opportunities.

Patient & Family Volunteers

Patient and family volunteers visit patients and their families in the patient’s home, nursing home, hospital, or alternate living facility. These volunteers act as a “professional friend”, providing practical help for overburdened families. They honor each journey by bringing comfort and reassurance to patients, caregivers and families at a challenging time of life.

Patient care volunteers complete training that educates them on the ethics of confidentiality, working with families, listening skills, signs and symptoms of approaching death, loss, grief, and bereavement support.

Patient and family volunteers offer respite to allow caregivers a few hours off, emotional support, companionship, and a wide range of tasks.

  • Patient/family volunteer sessions may include:
  • Offering general companionship
  • Reading aloud
  • Assist with pets
  • Cooking/baking
  • Assisting patients with their hobbies
  • Performing light yard or housework
  • Running errands
  • Singing or playing an instrument
  • Praying together

The assistance they provide relieves caregivers of some day-to-day concerns, thus allowing the family to spend quality time with their loved one.

Note: Volunteers do not provide personal care to the patients.

Office & Outreach Volunteers

Office and outreach volunteers help our organization tremendously without any direct contact with patients and families, and with less training or commitment.

They may work alongside or support staff by:

  • Assisting in administrative duties such as phone calls, data entry, filing, etc.
  • Preparing packets and program materials
  • Distributing flyers
  • Attending and sharing our mission and message at community events
  • Utilizing talents or hobbies to support fundraising or memorial gifts
  • Utilizing sewing skills to make memory bears
  • Becoming an ambassador and attending speaking engagements

Bereavement Volunteers

Bereavement volunteers are very special patient and family volunteers who have taken additional training to enable them to help support individuals in our bereavement program.

This program supports patients and families on hospice plus grief support to anyone in the community, regardless of whether their loved on was on hospice.

  • Bereavement volunteer duties may include:
  • Telephone conversations
  • Home visits
  • Writing cards and letters
  • Attending or facilitating support groups
  • Assistance with remembrance events

Ready to become a hospice volunteer?

Call High Peaks Hospice at 518-891-0606 to connect with your local Volunteer Coordinator, who will answer any questions you have.

To become a volunteer you must first complete a volunteer application, relaying your interests and availability.

Next a pre-training interview is scheduled and completed.

Now you are ready for training! Training varies based on whether you prefer to be an office volunteer, patient/family volunteer or bereavement volunteer, listed in order from least to most extensive training. You can plan on a mix of scheduled in-person training along with online training that you can complete in your free time. Patient and family volunteers receive extensive training in providing comfort and support to families facing end-of-life issues. Topics covered during volunteer training include hospice and palliative care, ways to improve communication, active listening, identifying and respecting cultural differences, spirituality and grief and the healing process.

Your Volunteer Coordinator will notify you of volunteer opportunities that meet your availability and indicated desires. They will be your point of contact and maintain communication before, during, and after your assignments.

Throughout the year you will be invited to volunteer gatherings and groups to connect with other hospice volunteers.

Please Note: Individuals must be over 18 to be a patient/family volunteer.

In accordance with NYSDOH all volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as receive booster vaccinations when they are due.

Volunteer Training

In accordance with NYSDOH all volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as receive booster vaccinations when they are due.

Our volunteers are well-prepared and oriented for all types of volunteer activities.

To find out about the next training in your area, please contact our volunteer manager:


Words from a Volunteer

What I enjoy most about volunteering for HPH is having the time to be present to our clients at the end of life or helping families/caregivers cope with the grief of losing a loved one.

Following the death of my wife on 10/28/13, I knew that my life would be forever changed and I needed to find new meaning and purpose to my life. High Peaks Hospice was one of several volunteer opportunities that I pursued.

I am passionate about HPH’s mission and the care, comfort & support that we can provide our clients at the end of life. When my wife died, I was left with time and I needed to use my time to help others. I recently read Understanding Your Grief by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. In this book, Dr. Wolfelt identifies ten touchstones for finding hope and healing your heart. The following quote in this book from Carol Crandell really resonates with me. “You don’t heal from the loss of a loved one because time passes, you heal because of what you do with the time.”

Every visit that my time allows me to be present with our clients when they have so little time left is an ongoing part of my healing process and a way for me to honor the memory of my wife.

Rick Bergeron, High Peaks Hospice Volunteer