We welcome your interest in our Volunteer Program, Yad B’ Yad or Hand in Hand. Hospice volunteers are the heart of a hospice program and Bikkur Holim (visiting the sick) is among the highest of Mitzvot (commandments). Hospice places extraordinary value on the selfless sharing of time, energy, and compassion by individuals for others at their most vulnerable time of life.

What Does a Volunteer Do?

Direct Patient Involvement

Volunteers provide assistance to patients and family caregivers. Tasks may vary from sitting quietly with the patient or engaging in conversation, reading aloud, letter writing, reminiscing, or playing an instrument. Just being present with a patient is a vital and welcome task. A volunteer’s presence may provide much needed respite for the caregiver to take care of themselves, their home, and other members of their family. You might have the occasion to prepare a light meal, provide transportation, or take care of some light shopping.


The Hospice Care office would love your help for administrative tasks, such as filing, answering phones, mailings, or preparing for an event.


Like to scrapbook? Enjoy learning about people? We have opportunities to create meaningful displays about our patients’ lives.

Meet a Hospice Volunteer: Bill Shulman

How Do I Become a Volunteer?

Acceptance to the program requires a written application, interview, reference checks, medical clearance, and successful completion of a 20-hour training program. This training will qualify you to competently provide services following the standards of Medicare and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, as well as our own unique focus on Jewish values and practices. The group training meets 1x/weekly for 7 weeks.

What are My Responsibilities?

Most often, volunteers visit 1-2 times weekly with a patient. Timing of the visits is flexible and is determined by the mutual needs of the patient, family, and your personal schedule. Documentation of visits is required of all volunteers.

What Support Do I Receive?

Our Volunteer Coordinator (VC) is responsible to recruit, train, assign, and support our volunteers. The VC is your sounding board for all concerns and the emotions that arise with this work. Continuing education and monthly Volunteer Gatherings are held for learning and to allow for sharing of experiences and ideas.

How Do I Apply?

Download the application and submit it to: Sara Smolover, Volunteer Services Manager, Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care @ Sarasmolover@hsl.harvard.edu or call 781-234-9186 for more information.



Speak with our Volunteer Coordinator