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LSS Guardianship Services uses volunteers as friendly visitors to enhance wards' lifestyles.


Many community members want to give something back to their community by becoming a
ward's volunteer. Members of a ward's community will often welcome the opportunity to
remain involved without having to take on the legal responsibility of guardianship. Be
creative and do not hesitate to ask if someone is interested in being a volunteer. The following
resources are among those available to volunteer recruiters:
       Family members, co-workers, friends or fellow church members of the ward
       Congregations, especially those with befriender, friendly visiting, or Stevens Ministry
       Retired Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP)
       Friends or relatives of current volunteers
       Meals on Wheels volunteers
       Voluntary Action Council
       Service clubs


The application to become a volunteer for LSS Guardianship/Conservatorship Services
contains personal information such as education, occupation, previous volunteer experience,
current interests and the reasons the applicant is looking for a volunteer experience. This
information is used to match each volunteer with one or more wards. Volunteer applicants
must furnish three character references and are subject to a criminal background check
through the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Reference checks

A letter is sent to each reference requesting the following information concerning the
       Length and type of relationship
       Character strengths
       Ability to handle disappointments, stress, frustration and crises
       Chemical dependency issues
       Emotional maturity

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       Ability to have a significant relationship with a vulnerable adult
       Reasons (if any) this position of responsibility for a vulnerable adult might not be


An initial interview with each applicant provides the opportunity for an assessment of
motives, character, and abilities. Questions are posed regarding current conditions that might
limit the ability to provide a safe and secure relationship for a vulnerable adult. The
volunteer’s role is explained and the applicant is given an opportunity to assess his/her own
motives and abilities.


All volunteers receive an orientation to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and to LSS
Guardianship/Conservatorship Services. This orientation includes information about the
service, the LSS and Guardianship/Conservatorship Services mission statements, a detailed
description of the volunteer’s responsibilities, and a review of the LSS Volunteer Manual.

Initial and on-going training includes relevant information about the following:
       The guardianship/conservatorship process
       Vulnerable adults
       Activities
       Communication tips
       Confidentiality
       Community resources
       Pertinent health topics
       Client rights
       Roles and duties of LSS staff
       Program policies


Volunteers must have their own auto insurance. If a volunteer is involved in an accident
while driving on behalf of LSS (whether or not a client is in the vehicle) and is proven
negligent, the volunteer’s auto insurance is the primary payor in case of a lawsuit. If LSS is

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also named in the suit and the settlement equals an amount greater than the volunteer’s
liability limits, LSS insurance coverage will pay the remainder.

Volunteers are covered under the LSS professional liability (malpractice) insurance. In
addition, an accidental death or dismemberment policy covers volunteers while they
participate in activities under the direction of the agency (including while traveling directly to
and from their duties as volunteers).

Volunteer Responsibilities

Volunteers do not make medical, legal or other major decisions. However, because of the
close contact they may have with clients, their input is valuable when it is necessary for the
guardian to make such a decision. Volunteers can monitor changes in physical, emotional,
and mental health, and can report such changes to LSS staff. Volunteer responsibilities
       Visits at least once per month
       Demonstrated patience, compassion, concern
       Familiarity with caregivers and the living situation
       Monthly reports to LSS staff
       Respect for privacy and confidentiality
       Assistance in the purchase of personal items (optional)
       Attendance at care conferences or team meetings (optional)
       Attendance at regularly scheduled volunteer meetings


Volunteers submit monthly reports to LSS staff. These reports include:
       Number of visits with ward during the reporting period
       Total number of hours spent with client (including travel time)
       Total time spent at volunteer meetings (including travel time)
       Description of the activities done with client
       Problems/concerns
       Other comments

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Volunteers are eligible to receive reimbursement from LSS for miles driven on behalf of
wards (including to and from visits), and for miles driven to and from regularly scheduled
volunteer meetings.


Show appreciation for volunteers. Create an inviting and appreciative atmosphere at regularly
scheduled meetings. Participate in National Volunteer Month activities. Recognize that
volunteers are valuable to the lives of LSS wards.

For more information refer to the LSS Volunteer Handbook and the LSS Volunteer Specialist

LSS Guardianship/Conservatorship Services                                            Section: 14
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