The purpose of this study was to find out from hospice volunteers how they first heard of opportunities to volunteer, what motivated them to volunteer when they first began, and why they continue. A total of 351 volunteers from 3 states in the western United States participated in a questionnaire study. Three open-ended questions addressed how they heard of hospice, why they started, and why they continued. Their intentions to continue were also measured on rating scales. Responses to the open-ended questions were coded with acceptable intercoder reliability. Findings were that volunteers heard of opportunities through hospice and health care contacts, personal contacts, print and electronic sources, and other nonhospice organizations. They began volunteering primarily to be of service and because of a personal experience with the death of someone to whom they were close. Most volunteers chose to continue because they found it personally rewarding, helpful to others, or both, but many reported that they continue because of the quality of their own hospice organization and its staff. Demographic influences were noted but were generally small.
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