Some US prisons are meeting the growing need for end-of-life care through inmate volunteer programs, yet knowledge of the motivations of inmate caregivers is underdeveloped. This study explored the motivations of inmate hospice volunteers from across Louisiana State (n = 75) through an open-ended survey, a grounded theory approach to analysis, and comparison of responses by experience level and gender. Participants expressed complex motivations; Inter-related themes on personal growth, social responsibility and ethical service to vulnerable peers suggested that inmate caregivers experience an underlying process of personal and social transformation, from hospice as a source of positive self-identity to peer-caregiving as a foundation for community. Better understanding of inmate caregiver motivations and processes will help prisons devise effective and sustainable end of life peer-care programs.
Keywords: end of life; hospice volunteer; peer-care; prison hospice.
© The Author(s) 2013.