Despite the immense amount of patience and selflessness required of volunteers, Dover Park Hospice has managed to build up a strong team of 400 active volunteers.

Dover Park Hospice is the winner of the President’s Award for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy (Non-Profit Organisation) 2017.

When choosing a field to volunteer in, it is easy to pick one based on interest, be it kids, animals or the environment. But some fields are tougher and less accessible than others, such as the field of hospice care. Despite the immense amount of patience and selflessness needed, Dover Park Hospice (DPH) has managed to build up a team of 400 active volunteers who work alongside a permanent staff strength of just 140. In 2016, DPH’s volunteers provided over $340,000 in in-kind services, as quantified by the Volunteer Investment and Value Audit (VIVA).

“The key to having such a well-integrated volunteer programme is a really close bond between staff and the volunteers” says Mr Timothy Liu, CEO of DPH. One way that DPH champions this is through the recognition of volunteers at the Staff and Volunteers Nite. A support system has also been put in place for the well-being of volunteers – each volunteer is supported by 2 full-time staff members. Independent professional counsellors are also on hand to provide volunteer’s a listening ear. To ensure that volunteers are well equipped to handle the task at hand, training sessions are also held to update them with the latest caregiving methods, thus maintaining a high standard of care.

Mr Liu says DPH has been fortunate in that many of the volunteers step up ready to serve because they see “meaning in helping patients at the end of life” and so they find it “imperative to ensure that these patients are well taken care of, given the short time that they have with each patient”.

The hospice’s communications and outreach team constantly raises awareness about palliative and hospice care, and many volunteers sign up based on word of mouth alone, be it via public messages or other volunteers in the programme.

Moving ahead:

2017 marks Dover Park Hospice’s 25th anniversary. With Singapore’s rapidly ageing population, hospice care has become increasingly important and DPH has been receiving more referrals for hospice care. It plans to double its capacity to a 100-bed facility by 2022 when it moves to the Integrated Care Hub and to start a palliative day care centre in 2019.