From 1996 to 1998, the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Va., carried out Final Gifts, a national research study of hospice volunteerism.
It was designed to elicit information about the activities, motivation and experiences of hospice volunteers. The study also sought respondents' opinions about relevant public policy issues.
Nearly 1,400 volunteers and 500 paid professional staff, drawn from a random sample of 24 Medicare-certified hospices, completed the extensive mail survey, making it the largest and most detailed study of hospice volunteerism ever conducted. Additional data were collected through interviews with administrators.