Skip to main content

MAVA Voice

Boundaries Policies for Direct Service Volunteers
Author Last Post
Hi Maddy,

Here is the section on boundaries from our volunteer orientation packet:

Boundaries

 

Boundaries are the physical, mental, and emotional limits that give structure to a relationship and protect you and the person affected by ALS. 

 

As a volunteer, your role is to provide support to the person affected by ALS; the person affected by ALS should not be providing support to you.  It is up to you to establish and maintain the boundaries listed below.

 

Physical Boundaries

Please refrain from assisting a person living with ALS with activities of daily living.These include toilet hygiene (getting on and off the toilet and cleaning oneself), mobility (walking and getting in and out of a chair), and self-feeding.

 

Please refrain from providing medical assistance to a person living with ALS.This includes dispensing medication, adjusting respiratory equipment, and providing medication, nutrition, or hydration through a feeding tube.

 

If a person living with ALS chokes, stops breathing, falls, or is otherwise seriously injured, you should defer to their caregiver.If the injured person is alone or the caregiver is incapacitated, you should call 911 and use your best judgement until medical help arrives.

 

Mental Boundaries

A person affected by ALS has the right to make their own decisions.Please respect any decisions they make, even if it is a decision you disagree with.

 

If a person affected by ALS asks for your advice or help with medical, financial, or legal matters or paperwork, please ask them to contact The ALS Association or their ALS clinic for assistance.

 

Please refrain from proselytizing on religious or political subjects.

 

Emotional Boundaries

Be mindful not to establish a dual relationship with a person affected by ALS, such as having their spouse be your accountant or having your teenager babysit their children.

 

Do not enter into a romantic or sexual relationship with a person living with ALS or their family members.

 

If you have a concern about boundaries in your relationship with a person affected by ALS or feel things are unclear, please let your supervisor know.  They can assist you in determining how to proceed with the relationship.


We also have an agreement that people volunteering in the family assistance program need to sign.  Here is what it says:

These guidelines and boundaries have been established to ensure your safety and the safety of the person living with ALS and their family members.

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family needs help with any activities of daily living, a caregiver must be available to assist them.  These include:

  • Bathing and Showering
  • Personal Hygiene and Grooming (Including Brushing, Combing, and Styling Hair)
  • Dressing
  • Toilet Hygiene (Getting On and Off the Toilet and Cleaning Oneself)
  • Mobility (Walking, Getting In and Out of Bed, and Getting In and Out of a Chair)
  • Self-Feeding

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family needs medical assistance, a caregiver must be available to assist them.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Organizing or Dispensing Medication
  • Cleaning or Adjusting Respiratory Equipment
  • Providing Medication, Nutrition, or Hydration Through a Feeding Tube

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family chokes, stops breathing, falls, or is otherwise seriously injured, you should defer to the caregiver in the home.  If the injured person is alone or the caregiver is incapacitated, you should call 911 and use your best judgement until medical help arrives.

 

Because the person living with ALS’s breathing may be compromised, please cancel any visits you have if you are sick or suspect you may be getting sick.

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family has cognitive changes affecting their thinking, logic, or memory, a caregiver must be present.

 

You can interact with the family’s children but you are not to provide childcare.  If there are children 13 years old or younger, an adult must be present.

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family owns firearms, they have been instructed that they must be locked up with the ammunition stored separately while you are present.

 

For safety reasons, you cannot drive the person living with ALS or their family members nor can you be a passenger in their vehicle.  If you would like to do something in the community, you and the person living with ALS or their family members should arrive independently or take a vehicle for hire or public transportation together.

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family asks for your help with medical, financial, or legal paperwork, please ask them to contact The ALS Association or their ALS clinic for assistance rather than having you help them.

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family would like you to go shopping, they can order online and pre-pay for the items or they can provide you with a list and a pre-paid credit card or cash to make the purchases; please do not accept a blank check or their personal credit card.

 

If the person living with ALS or anyone in their family makes you uncomfortable or harasses you, please report the behavior to The ALS Association.  You may leave at any time if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.


I hope this helps,
Laura
---
Volunteer Engagement Manager | The ALS Association, MN/ND/SD Chapter
 
I don't have any suggestions but am eager to hear from others on this - I would love to have some guidelines or policy in place for our volunteers who form friendships with care center residents - boundaries are good!
 
Anyone have any recommendations or suggestions for Maddy? 
 
Hi, Everyone!

I am the Volunteer Coordinator at Gilda's Club Twin Cities - a nonprofit that provides free social and emotional support to folks touched by cancer. We do not have a set-in-stone policy that lays out the relationship boundaries between our direct service volunteers and our members who use our services. We don't want this to turn into an issue down the road, so we want to add this policy to our volunteer handbook to eliminate any ambiguity as soon as possible. Can anyone share some resources or a snippet of their policies (either here or to my email below) to give me a sense of how other organizations are addressing this? Any guidance is appreciated!

Thanks,

Maddy Rydeen

Maddy.Rydeen@GildasClubTwinCities.org
 
Return to Forum