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VITAS Healthcare of Texas
Houston, Texas 77098
VITAS Innovative Hospice Care®, a pioneer and leader in the hospice movement since 1978, is the nation’s largest provider of end-of-life care. Our name is derived from the Latin word for “lives” and symbolizes the VITAS mission: to preserve the quality of life for those who have a limited time to live.
Headquartered in Miami, Florida, VITAS operates 50 hospice programs in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
VITAS has enjoyed dynamic growth since its founding as a volunteer organization by a United Methodist minister and an oncology nurse. Today, VITAS employs 11,000 professionals who care for terminally ill patients daily-primarily in the patients’ homes, but also in the company’s inpatient hospice units as well as in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities/residential care facilities. VITAS team members include registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, home health aides, physicians, social workers, chaplains and other caregiving professionals.
Our Houston/Friendswood/Conroe area serves over 300 patients daily. Care is provided at home, in long-term care and assisted living facilities, in hospitals and in hospice inpatient units.
Volunteers are an integral part of our program of patient/family care. Assignments are offered in areas near your own home or job. Our volunteers provide services such as patient social visits, relief care for the families, bereavement care, administrative assistance at the Houston or Friendswood offices, arts and crafts, telephone care calls to patients and families, pet volunteer program and other areas that our volunteers may specialize in.
Description of Internship
Before working with patients, all of our interns/volunteers attend an 8-hour orientation to receive extensive training in family dynamics, bereavement, communication, safety, etc. to better prepare them for their service. Volunteer opportunities are assigned to accommodate our volunteers' schedules and interests, and locations. Patient visits can be made during the day or evenings, weekdays or weekends, depending on the patient, family, and volunteer needs/availability. Volunteer duties do not include any type of medical treatment or duties.
Criteria for Interns
Patient Care Volunteers must be 17 years and older. There are no requirements for educational background or field of study – volunteer opportunities are open to all social science majors. No heavy lifting is required. A criminal background check is required of all volunteers working with patients. Two TB tests are also required before volunteers can begin visiting patients. There is no set time that volunteering has to be completed (i.e. during business hours or weekdays only) and we work with students to accommodate their work and school schedules; however, student interns must be mindful of their schedules and build their time around the patient’s willingness and ability for visits.
Velanie Turner, Volunteer Services Manager
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Last updated or reviewed on 9/30/14