Jan Draper, George Kernohan and Aine MacNamara (OU and UU): In the United Kingdom, there are between 70,000 and 100,000 hospice volunteers, of whom half have direct patient contact. This presentation will draw on a commissioned literature review that highlighted how ‘volunteering is integral to voluntary action and often motivated by altruism.’ The review concluded that hospice at home volunteers can help improve the quality and responsiveness of end of life care, improve access to care and can support care and death in the person’s own home. Volunteers gain health and social benefits and personal growth from their volunteering and the patients and carers they support also gain benefits over and above the care they receive. Volunteers also bring benefits to the hospice as an organisation and to the local community, providing a link between the two and enabling the hospice to be more sensitive and responsive to local needs. The presentation will highlight further work that would seek to provide empirical, qualitative data on the role of the volunteer in two community settings, England and Northern Ireland, and would aim to explore the differences and similarities in these two community contexts.
This seminar took place on 6th February 2014.