Our volunteers are the heart of Arbor Hospice.
We have more than 100 dedicated volunteers serving in roles that build on their strengths and abilities—whether it’s providing companionship or caregiver relief support at the patient’s bedside, raising awareness in the community about our services or in a number of administrative roles supporting office staff.



Arbor Hospice utilizes volunteers in all areas of the organization. Based on a volunteer’s background, talent and areas of interest, Arbor Hospice will provide the necessary training and work closely with you to identify a rich and rewarding volunteer experience.

Examples of how Arbor Hospice volunteers serve
Arbor Hospice volunteers give their time in order to provide quality of life support for patients, caregivers, and staff.  Frequency and duration of assignments is based on volunteer availability. Examples of volunteer assignments include:

  • Patient companionship volunteers support patients or family caregivers by assisting with hobbies, such as playing cards or board games, listening to music, reading, and watching favorite movies together.
  • Caregiver relief volunteers provide family caregivers a much-needed break so they can run errands, attend important events, or just refresh and recharge.
  • Vigil visit volunteers fill a special role as a supportive presence at the bedside of a patient who is actively dying so they are not alone.
  • Photographer and portrait artist volunteers create images of pediatric and adult patients and families.
  • Musician volunteers play an instrument or sing to patients.
  • Artist volunteers provide creative healing experiences for patients in a facility or a home setting.
  • Veteran-to-Veteran visits–volunteers who are Veterans visit and spend quality time with patients who are also veterans.
  • My Stories Program volunteers assist patients by recording memories or lessons learned so that loved ones can view videos or listen to recordings for years to come.
  • Community outreach volunteers serve as ambassadors to the community, helping at public events, and bringing awareness of Arbor Hospice’s services.
  • Licensed cosmetologist/barber volunteers can provide haircuts and nail care for patients at their residence, whether at home or in a facility.
  • Pet owner volunteers can offer companionship to patients by bringing their friendly pet (certified therapy animals preferred) for pet visits. Patients living in their own homes may also need help with dog walking or pet care.
  • Seamstress and sewer volunteers sew “Memory Bears” from the clothing of patients who have passed away. Memory Bears are used to provide comfort to grieving family members.
  • Special Event or Community Outreach Assistance volunteers help set up special community-based events and community outreach.
  • Administrative support volunteers assist at Arbor Hospice’s offices by using their Microsoft Office (MSWord, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) proficiency and general office skills (filing, tracking, assembling packets and mailings, data entry, making telephone calls) to assist various office projects. All levels of experience welcome
  • Grief Journey Program volunteers assist by providing grief support to family members and community groups, including meal-time groups at local restaurants, or, walking groups, for example. These volunteers also extend general office help to Arbor Hospice’s Grief Journey Program.

See Our 50 Ways to Volunteer

Why are volunteers so important to Arbor Hospice?

Volunteers are integral to Arbor Hospice. Whether volunteers are working alongside a care-giving team, or assisting with office or events, volunteers help support Arbor Hospice’s end-of-life mission.

How long is the training?

A six-hour training is required for all volunteers who wish to volunteer with Arbor Hospice.

What is covered in the training?

Volunteers receive instruction on the roles of the hospice team members, including: the patient’s physician, hospice physician, nurse, social worker, spiritual care counselor, hospice aide, and grief support counselor. Any given volunteer role will be explained to you, so that you can determine if it’s a good fit.

Can I volunteer for work other than patient care?

Yes. Arbor Hospice needs volunteers to help with fundraisers, marketing and mailings, grief support, public speaking, computer, and IT assistance, sewing, hair styling, and more.

What is the time commitment?

Volunteer services are flexible to work around most schedules. There are no set schedules; it all depends on the needs of Arbor Hospice’s teams and your availability. Two to four hours a week is encouraged.

How do you support new volunteers?

You will have a Volunteer Program Coordinator who is responsible for training, supervising, supporting, and scheduling your work. Arbor Hospice staff is available to you by phone or in the office. There are also volunteer support group meetings, in-services, phone calls, newsletters, and more to keep you connected. Working with Arbor Hospice staff, you will be able to decide when to accept assignments without supervision.

Will I ever be expected to be present when a patient dies?

This is up to you, the patient, and his/her loved ones. Arbor Hospice offers to be present at the time of death if the family requests this support. Volunteers who sit with a patient during the death process are there entirely by choice.

What type of environment will I be working in?

Arbor Hospice cares for patients wherever they live: in private or nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and group homes. If you are not directly involved in patient care, you will work at a local Arbor Hospice office.

Ready to get started?

Arbor Hospice needs your help. Please complete an application and get started.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer for Arbor Hospice and meet the requirements detailed below, you will receive 6 hours of general training, and throughout the year, you will receive ongoing education in interest-specific modules you select, such as pediatric volunteering, grief support volunteering, veteran-to-veteran volunteer visits and more. Depending on how you’d like to serve, Arbor Hospice will guide your training and support you in your particular volunteer role.

General topics covered during volunteer training include:

  • Introduction to hospice and palliative care
  • Active listening and ways to improve communication
  • Protection of patient/family rights, including confidentiality
  • Knowledge of advance directives and powers of attorney
  • Respecting cultural differences
  • Physiological, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of end-of-life care
  • The healing process


Before submitting your volunteer application, please take a moment to consider whether volunteering with Arbor Hospice is right for you:

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid require that all hospice volunteers are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have an approved medical or religious exemption.
  • Volunteers are asked to commit at least one year of service to Arbor Hospice. Continuity of care is important to our patients and families; therefore, Arbor Hospice volunteer opportunities are considered long-term, and not suited for those looking for temporary or summer-only volunteering.
  • Because our patients reside throughout the state of Michigan, volunteer opportunities are best suited to those with their own transportation. We cannot guarantee that volunteer opportunities will be available on a bus route that works for you.
  • Volunteer opportunities are best for those with morning and afternoon availability, as that is when patients and families are most in need of visitors.
  • All volunteers are required to attend a one-day orientation class, offered on a quarterly basis.
  • All volunteers providing support for patients are required to have annual TB testing to meet compliance requirements.
  • The State of Michigan Department of Community Health requires various criminal background checks for hospice volunteers, and that all volunteers are fingerprinted.

Waiting period after a death

Experience has taught us that for those who have lost someone close to them, a one-year waiting period after the death is best. If someone close to you has died, Arbor Hospice is very sorry about your loss. You have a lot to offer as a volunteer…we look forward to connecting with you after the waiting period.


Arbor Hospice
2366 Oak Valley Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Contact Ruth Moore-Lilly, 248-794-0523 or email rmoore-lilley@hom.org

If you’re interested in joining the Arbor Hospice volunteer family, please consider the following:

If you’ve read the requirements above and are ready to get started, here’s how:

Complete a Volunteer Application.  A Volunteer Services team member will contact you and provide you with additional information regarding available volunteer opportunities, training dates and locations as well as next steps.

Are you coming to Arbor Hospice from another hospice? Please indicate on your application so that your application will be routed to the most suitable area.

Thank you for your interest in the Arbor Hospice mission!