Departing Warriors Project
Bearing Witness to Their Final Deployment



Hospice Training Programs

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Volunteer Caregiver Program


New Volunteer Caregivers are enrolled twice a year, in the spring and fall. After submitting an application and being interviewed, entry to the Volunteer Caregiver Program begins with an intensive training for those who have been accepted. Our training for new Volunteer Caregivers approaches the fundamentals of hospice work within the broader context of meditative awareness. Through the practice of meditation and the application of simple Buddhist teachings, we support the volunteers’ capacity to be present and open to what is happening in the moment. These methods are not exclusive to Buddhist practice. We welcome all spiritual traditions for both patients and volunteers. We wish to encourage a multicultural community. Buddhist practice simply forms the basis of our approach.

To join the Volunteer Caregiver program requires a commitment to a weekly 5-hour shift for one year.  You must also be able to participate in all of the training sessions.  For the complete list of requirements and training dates, click the button below.

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For more information:

- View our Frequently Asked Questions

- Fill out a Volunteer CareGiver Application

- Or contact Roy Remer, Guest House Volunteer Manager

To former Volunteers Caregivers wishing to come back to the Guest House:
You are welcome to find a place in our current community. Because changes are always happening in the care environments where we work, you will be asked to participate in a workshop-style training to give you the latest information you need to serve effectively. To begin volunteering again, you will need to complete a Volunteer Caregiver application and have an interview with Roy Remer, Guest House Volunteer Manager.


This program brings together people with a meditation or spiritual practice and individuals facing the final months or weeks of life. It encourages a mutually beneficial relationship between people who are cultivating a “listening mind” and heart, and people who need to be heard and seen.

In caring for the dying, Volunteer Caregivers have the opportunity to explore their own relationship to death and, in turn, offer our residents a place of quietude, openness, grace, and dignity.

Volunteers provide practical, emotional, and spiritual support to men and women with cancer, AIDS, or other terminal illnesses.  They make soup, change linen, give backrubs, and listen to life stories.  They attempt to bring to these everyday activities the open heart, mindfulness, and equanimity that are cultivated in meditation.

Each volunteer receives thorough training, on-going supervision, and support from a community of like-minded individuals. No prior experience in health care is necessary. Zen Hospice understands that we all have the capacity to empathetically care for another.

Each year, 100+ volunteers collectively provide 20,000 hours of care for 200 patients at one of two locations:

  • The Zen Hospice Project Guest House, a comfortable and restful environment for people who cannot die in their own home.
  • The Hospice and Palliative Care Unit at Laguna Honda Hospital, a unique care program for the medically underserved populations of San Francisco.