End of Life Choices Oregon prides itself in creating an organization that is based on integrity and transparency. Policies are developed with the input of the volunteer team leaders, medical director, staff, experts on the subject, and the Board of Directors. Changes to procedures that affect all volunteers are also discussed by everyone affected. Open communication is encouraged throughout the organization, minutes from team leader teleconferences, monthly team meetings, and monthly Board meetings are shared with all volunteers.
EOLCOR volunteers must be aware of the parameters or boundaries set by the organization to ensure the safety and integrity of the client-volunteer relationship. With that in mind, there are some things we clearly do and do not do in this volunteer role. A summary is provided here and each of these issues will be discussed in the appropriate sections in the manual.
What We Do
Provide information to terminally-ill Oregonians regarding end-of-life choices. It is our responsibility to discuss all legal end-of-life choices, not just the Death with Dignity Act.
Counsel and support people in person or by phone, as they explore options. Our greatest gift to our clients is the personal relationship they can expect from our volunteers.
Answer questions about talking with health care providers. Many clients don't know how to open a serious conversation with their doctors about death, while others may open a discussion and find their doctor unwilling to discuss death. Preparing clients with discussion scenarios and possible responses is very helpful.
Listen and support the client's choices. Our work is about supporting a client's choice. Sometimes that means working against our own judgment and ego, by always remembering that the choice is not ours, but the client’s.
Respect the confidentiality of our clients and follow the Confidentiality Agreement. This is an important element in the trust we build with our clients and their families.
Respect other volunteers and the wisdom and talents they bring to this work. Working as teams is one of the benefits of this volunteer work. By working closely with one another we often build lasting friendships and help each other process our own questions and feelings.
Follow the policies and procedures of the organization. All policies and procedures are created from someone's first-hand experience. If you have questions about a policy or procedure, ask the team leader for clarification.
Work with clients and have someone to assist in making sure everything gets done correctly.
Work together to find opportunities to normalize death and dying in our community. By talking openly with family and friends, being involved in community discussions, and assisting with outreach projects, we help normalize the death and dying process.
What We Do Not Do
Act as a witness on a DWDA Request for Medication form or any other form. This is a legal document and must be witnessed by someone who knows the client and is not part of EOLCOR.
Act as healthcare providers of any sort.
Assist with legal documents, such as wills, nor act as a beneficiary of client's estate.
Act as a client's healthcare representative - a part of an Advance Directive. This is beyond the scope of our services and should be the role of a family member or close friend.
Drive clients or their loved ones to appointments, the store, or anywhere else.
Pay for life-ending medications. We often assist a client in getting financial assistance through other organizations, but EOLCOR does not provide this service. As EOLCOR volunteers we should not provide something that is not part of the organization's services.
Remove any medication from a client's home. This is beyond the scope of our responsibility and liability.
Accept responsibility for a client's belongings after death. This is also beyond the scope of our responsibility and should be handled by family, friends, or Hospice staff.
Accept money or other personal gift of $25 or more from clients and only accept a donation to the organization as a check made out to EOLCOR. Contact your Team Leader if you have a question.
Attend a planned death in a long-term facility that prohibits the use of the DWDA. This is a specific EOLCOR policy and is monitored by Team Leaders.
Act as the assigned EOLCOR Client Volunteer for friends or family members (boundary issue).
Assign married or partnered couples to the same case (legal issue).
Ethics and Confidentiality
Volunteers are asked to read and agree to follow an EOLCOR Code of Ethics and to sign a Confidentiality Agreement that assures the privacy of our clients. Copies of these documents are kept in the volunteer's file.
These documents outline the agreement between the organization and the volunteer regarding the expectations of the organization and the behavior of the volunteer when representing EOLCOR.
CODE OF ETHICS
Every representative of End of Life Choices Oregon (EOLCOR) - volunteer, paid staff, and board member - must conduct him or herself in a manner consistent with our mission and provide services ethically, as described in this code. If there is uncertainty on any ethical questions or issues Representatives should consult with the Volunteer Coordinator, who may consult with the Board Chair, as necessary.
Principles of Ethical Behavior
Self-determination. Representatives will honor all clients' right to self-determination - the right to choose their own path of inevitable death, as permitted under Oregon law.
Informed Consent. Representatives will provide truthful disclosure and unbiased information about our services, as described in EOLCOR brochures. EOLCOR is committed to ensuring a high level of client comprehension. Representatives will not coerce any client and will get their permission before making any intervention on behalf of the client.
Privacy and Confidentiality. Representatives will guard the privacy and confidentiality of clients, family members, friends, and service providers. If there is a need to obtain information outside our organization, Representatives must obtain consent from the client and prior approval from the Team Leader.
Conflicts of Interest. Representatives will not engage in a relationship with a client, family, or friends that might be considered a conflict of interest. Representatives will establish and respect all relationship boundaries. This includes the stipulation that volunteers 1) cannot be the assigned EOLCOR Client Volunteer for friends or family members and 2) that married or partnered couples cannot be assigned the same case (also a legal issue).
Social Justice. Representatives will not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, political stance, age, marital status, religion, and mental or physical disability, or on any other basis.
Conflict Resolution. Possible breaches or conflicts to ethical behavior should be brought by Representatives, clients, or community members to the attention of the Board Chair of EOLCOR, who will address the issue and take appropriate action in a timely manner. Breaches of this Code of Ethics by any EOLCOR Representative may result in the service termination of that Representative.
I understand and agree that while performing my duties as a Volunteer for End of Life Choices Oregon (EOLCOR) I will maintain and safeguard the identity and confidentiality of all information regarding clients, their families, and people in their circle of support. I have read EOLCOR guidelines for volunteers, agree to policies and procedures, and will not disclose information beyond what is allowed within the context of the organization’s guidelines.
Further, I will not disclose the identity or information about doctors, pharmacists, or those working from the outside to help EOLCOR clients.
I understand that these obligations continue indefinitely and beyond the time and circumstances of my working with clients or the organization.
I will safeguard unpublished EOLCOR materials and records related to work with clients.
I also understand that necessary conversations with or about clients, their supporters, EOLCOR,doctors, and pharmacists will be conducted privately to the extent possible under the circumstances.
I agree not to publish any information, or release any material about clients, their families, or the work of the organization that has not been approved by EOLCOR. Likewise, I will not conduct or release any research that has not been approved by the staff.
I understand that this statement will become part of my volunteer file. It is my responsibility to pursue any questions about confidentiality with EOLCOR staff.
Breaches of confidentiality are serious ethical violations that may be cause for termination.
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