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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2008 Dec-2009 Jan;25(6):458-62. doi: 10.1177/1049909108322291.

Ethical issues for hospice volunteers.

Author information

  • 1College of Nursing, University of Utah, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA. patricia.berry@nurs.utah.edu

Abstract

Health care professionals usually receive professional education in ethics, but the half million hospice volunteers in the United States may receive only brief training that is limited to confidentiality and the volunteer role. The purpose of this study was to explore ethical issues hospice volunteers confront in their work. Interviews with 39 hospice volunteers were conducted, audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative methods. Prominent themes were dilemmas about gifts, patient care and family concerns, issues related to volunteer roles and boundaries, and issues surrounding suicide and hastening death. Suggestions for training include discussions of ethics after initial training once volunteers had confronted ethical issues, with special emphasis on strategies for negotiating their uneasy role positioned between health care professional and friend.

PMID:
19106279
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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