Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Caregiver Training Program
Training for Volunteers at the Caregivers Support Center
Our volunteer coaches are trained to assist caregivers in exploring our online and on-site resources. The coaches are also available to listen to their concerns. These volunteers can help caregivers navigate the available resources in the community, as well as within the medical center.
The volunteers participate in a comprehensive training program led by the program coordinator and other professionals within Montefiore, who have experience in such areas as social work, spiritual work, palliative care, and information and referrals. Volunteers also have access to outside resources such as United Hospital Fund and the Families and Health Care Project. During the training course, a social worker assesses the abilities of each volunteer to face and address the common concerns and problems of family/friend caregivers. Each session is two hours long, and a certificate is awarded after completing the training.
The main topics include:
- Communication skills, such as active listening
- Establishing appropriate boundaries
- Recognizing common signs of depression and alerting appropriate clinical staff
- Familiarizing the volunteer coaches with the resources available and helping them to feel comfortable with offering assistance to caregivers
The training includes role-playing scenarios to give the volunteers the opportunity to practice new skills in a safe and supportive environment among their peers. During the training, the volunteers explore and discuss their own experiences in caregiving and reflect on how those experiences might help them to be effective coaches.
Recruitment for the Caregiver Support Center is ongoing. The program currently includes 16 trained volunteer support coaches.