Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is a Volunteer Hospice?

Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers is licensed by the State of Maine to provide the volunteer and bereavement services that are key components of any hospice program. Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers works in partnership with MaineHealth Care at Home, a Medicare-certified hospice offering nursing and other services to those with life-limiting illnesses and to their families.  Our services are available to residents of Knox and Lincoln Counties, and at the Sussman Hospice House in Rockport.

Visit the website of MaineHealth Care at Home for more information on its Medicare-certified hospice program.

Q2. What do hospice volunteers do?

Our trained volunteers provide help and support wherever patients reside, whether in their own homes, assisted living centers, nursing homes or at the Sussman Hospice House. Volunteers can…

  • Stay with a patient so a caregiver can run errands or take a break.
  • Visit a patient regularly at home, in the hospital, or in a nursing home to offer companionship and support. (Volunteers do not provide personal care.)
  • Offer a caring and listening presence.
  • Help with tasks and chores.
  • Run errands.
  • Read to a patient, write letters, or make telephone calls.
  • Provide practical and emotional support to both patient and family, as well as friends and other caregivers.
  • Offer comforting support to patients and families.
  • Offer bereavement support to family members and friends following the loss of a loved one.

Q3. Is there any charge for a hospice volunteer’s services?

A. There is no charge for any of the services of Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers. Neither do our volunteers accept tips for the services they provide.

Q4. If Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers does not charge for its services, how does the organization support itself?

A. Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers depends on donations from members of the communities it serves for a large part of its operating budget. Other sources of income are grants from local funders, memorial donations, and fees paid by the Medicare-certified hospice for our contracted services.

Q5. Is Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers a nonprofit organization?

A. Yes, Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers is an independent, nonprofit with 501(c) (3) status, so donations are tax-deductible. The mailing address for donations is Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers, PO Box 122, Rockport, ME 04856.

Q6. How can I become a hospice volunteer?

A. Volunteers become certified through a 9-week, 30-hour training course offered by Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers once or more during the year. The course emphasizes listening skills, as well as the psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual support of patients and their families. Members of the hospice team—nurse, social worker, and chaplain—are among the presenters. A fee of $45 covers the cost of materials.

Q7. Do I need any special qualifications or background to be trained as a hospice volunteer?

A. No, people from all walks of life may be suited to hospice volunteering, if they have a strong sense of empathy with others and are ready to absorb the lessons offered through the volunteer training.

Those who have had a significant loss in their lives are advised to wait at least one year from the date of loss before applying for hospice volunteer training.

Q8. If I become a hospice volunteer, will I be committed to providing a certain number of hours of service per week?

A. Yes, once assigned a case, a commitment of two to four hours a week is expected. The more available and flexible you can be, the better.

Q9. How do I find out more about Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers?

A. Call the Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers office at 207-230-0042 for more information about our services, becoming a volunteer, or donating to our organization. You may also email