Patient and Family Support Volunteers

There are many ways you can make a difference in the lives of others. We are sure that no matter which area you choose, you will enjoy being a part of the Empath Health family of volunteers. Patient and Family Support Volunteers can choose to visit patients in their homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes or our inpatient Suncoast Hospice Care Centers.

Training Requirements

The following training is required for all volunteer opportunities listed below. Additional training for special roles are listed under each opportunity.

Volunteer Orientation (4-Hours)

This training will provide you with an overview of the Empath Health integrated network of care. At the end of the training session you will choose the role that best fits your goals as a volunteer.

Patient and Family Support Training (12-Hours)

Prepares you for working with patients, families and PACE participants.

Suncoast Hospice Care Centers

Provide support to patients and families in an inpatient care setting in one of our Care Centers.

Locations: Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg.

Suncoast Hospice Home Care Teams
Provide support to patients and families in their homes.
Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facilities
Provide support to patients and families who reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Bereavement Volunteer Program
Be a supportive presence to those who have lost loved ones. Make bereavement support phone calls or in-person visits as directed by bereavement staff. Phone calls can be made from a volunteer’s home.

Training: Additional eight-hour Bereavement Support training is required after completion of Patient and Family Support Training.

Telephone Support

Communicate with patients and families to provide reassurance, learn of additional needs and be a listening ear. Daytime and evening opportunities available. Some opportunities to place calls from home. Additional training is required after completion of Patient and Family Support Training.

Children’s Community Program's

Support ill children and their caregivers and siblings. Provide tutoring to children or their siblings, companionship to children so their caregivers can take a break, and Reiki. Deliver food or supplies to families and assist during Family Fun Nights and other special events.

Community Counseling
Assist and participate with retreats and support groups for children and adults including helping the counselors with set-up and special activities. Provide Reiki to those who are grieving and assist with bereavement retreats.
Palliative Arts

Patient and Family Support volunteers comfort patients by providing holistic services in the following modalities:

  • Aromatherapy – The use of essential oils to promote health of the body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy training required.
  • Reiki – The use of energy therapy techniques to promote relaxation, reduce suffering caused by anxiety/agitation and create a sense of peacefulness. Reiki training offered for Patient and Family Support and Bereavement Support volunteers.
  • Licensed Massage Therapy – The use of hands-on techniques delivered by Florida licensed massage therapists to promote relaxation and reduce pain.
  • Music – The use of music as a tool, gift or opportunity to bring peace and comfort. Musicians may perform for patients or share musical interests with patients via music CDs or iPods.
  • Caring Touch – gentle hand rub techniques used to promote deep relaxation and relief from pain or discomfort. Caring Touch training required.
Pet Volunteer Visits
Specially-trained pets and their owners team up to visit patients and families in our three Care Centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or patients’ homes throughout Pinellas County. These pets can make an instant connection, bring joy and comfort and open a door for sharing pet stories and memories.

Eligible dogs, cats, rabbits or other pets must be evaluated and certified before placements. Breeds known for aggressive behavior are excluded, including Chow, Doberman Pinscer, Rottweiler, Dalmatian, Pit Bull and others.


  • Empath Health volunteer orientation
  • Empath Health patient and family support training
  • Proof of pet’s health screening and vaccinations
  • Certification by an approved evaluation organization (fees vary)


Get Started

Register for volunteer orientation by filling out our information request form or going to our calendar to select a registration date and fill out a form. For more information, call volunteer services at (727) 523-3440.

To learn more about our pet visit program, call Alicia Lawler at (727) 772-4390.

Suncoast PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care)
  • Participants’ Homes – Support participants in their homes. Provide companionship, caregiver respite, errand running, transportation, pack/organize home, facilitate life review, and provide spiritual support.
  • Training: Additional two-hour PACE Orientation is required after Volunteer Orientation and Patient and Family Support Training. Additional training may be required/provided for those serving in specialized roles (spiritual support, Reiki, etc.).
Veterans Serving Veterans

As a Veteran Serving Veteran volunteer, you will have the honor of extending a warm hand of friendship to military veterans with serious illness and those nearing the end of life. This service offers a special bond only those with military experiences share and a way to pay tribute to those who have served our country – your military brothers and sisters. Visit military veteran patients, take part in special pinning ceremonies, present appreciation certificates, share holiday events or help interview veterans who share life and military stories through the Veterans History Project. Learn more about our Empath Honors program.

Legacy Corps

Legacy Corps supports family caregivers of veteran and military families with a much-needed break from their everyday demands and challenges. Help support caregivers and make a difference in the lives of hardworking families that have served our nation.
Includes: One-year service commitment of 8-10 hours a week.
Receive: An education award, living allowance and make an impact in the lives of veterans and their families

Contact Maria DePerro, Legacy Corps program coordinator at (727) 523- 3437 or for more information

Delivery Drivers
Be a friendly face delivering supplies to patients at their homes, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Routes begin from central Pinellas County and are directed back to a volunteer’s home or location of choice.

Scheduling: A commitment of a two to three-hour shift per week is requested. Bi-monthly and monthly opportunities are also available. Daytime, afternoon, evening and weekend times are available. The largest needs are evenings and weekends.

Training: Driver Orientation is required after completion of Patient and Family Support Training.

Perinatal Loss Program

Support mothers and families who are facing the loss their infant before, during, or shortly after birth. Advocate for the mother’s needs during their hospital stay, support families while they make important decisions, and provide a listening ear to families after the births and in their time of grief.

Training and requirements: Empath Health Volunteer Orientation, Patient and Family Support Training, 50 hours of patient/family volunteering, Perinatal Loss Doula classroom training, mentoring visits with experienced Perinatal Loss Doulas.

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