Volunteer Management in Palliative Care
Hospices and other palliative care services are currently facing a number of pressures. On the one hand there is an increasing demand for their services yet wider social changes in gender roles and female employment patterns have the potential to reduce the supply of their traditional volunteers. Hospices are likely to respond to these pressures with changes in volunteer recruitment and volunteer management. At the same time they may consider changing the way they involve volunteers specifically in relation to roles which require direct contact with patients or their families.
The Institute for Volunteering Research, in partnership with the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University, have been commissioned by Dimbleby Cancer Care and Marie Curie Cancer Care to conduct a research project responding to these pressures.
The aim is to identify how good practice in the involvement of volunteers in palliative care services which require direct contact with patients or their families can enable organisations to meet the twin challenge described above. Within this aim there are three specific objectives:
- To identify good practice in the involvement, support and management of volunteers who provide direct patient and family support within palliative care;
- To explore the impact of volunteers and volunteering on palliative care and the clinical outcomes for patients;
- To identify ways of improving palliative care through the involvement of volunteers.
The research uses a mixed methodology approach including desk research, a quantitative survey of all UK Hospices, in-depth case studies of volunteer engagement and deliberative workshops. The project will be advised by a selected group of experts.
The quantitative survey was launched on the 7th November 2011 and closed on the 23rd December, receiving a response rate of approximately 70%.
Outputs from the project will include the creation of a good practice guide and the development of a protocol for an intervention trial.
A final report on the research will be made available in the Spring of 2013.