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Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

Providing on-going support for volunteers in care homes

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Shropshire Rural Community Council (RCC) shares a case study on their learning of the importance of on-going support for volunteers on the residents’ well-being.

Background

D has been volunteering in a care home since June 2014. She visits on a weekly basis and reads to three of the residents. She reads to another resident at one of the other homes which she took up in January 2015.

As part of her on-going support from Shropshire RCC, D has been having six monthly supervision. This gives both the volunteer and the project worker an opportunity to see how things are going, discuss any training needs and to raise any concerns.

Volunteers need to have supervision with the volunteer co-ordinator to make sure they continue to be happy in their volunteer role. Any issues can be identified in these sessions and dealt with as necessary. 

The issues we faced

At the recent supervision, D felt that there was no clear path to raise concerns about any of the residents.

The induction training had stressed that if any volunteers have any concerns they must “check it out” with the person in charge but this process had not been clarified on the ground between the care home staff and volunteers.  

The actions we took

I spoke to D about what I could do and I agreed to speak to the care homes about their processes for managing concerns. It was clarified that the volunteers should speak to the manager on duty if they have any concerns.

Positive outcomes

D was able to give some valuable feedback about her volunteering experience which enabled us to clarify the process for raising concerns. 

Negative outcomes

D suggested earlier regular meetings with the care home staff and other volunteers would have been a good way to sustain volunteering in the care home and to nip any concerns experienced by volunteers in the bud. 

Volunteers need to feel valued and that they have a purpose and a role to fulfil.

As the project moves through its final year, this transition of support from volunteer centre to care home will become more clearly defined. From D’s perspective, this will rightly shift the emphasis of responsibility for volunteers to the care home staff, who are best placed to provide the information and support volunteers require once placed in the care home.

 

Lessons learnt

The outcomes and impact of care home staff  providing on-going support for volunteers include:

  • Volunteers have the opportunity to give feedback and raise any concerns
  • Volunteer roles are made clearer
  • Volunteers can grow in their role
  • Volunteers feel more confident in their roles
  • Volunteers training needs are identified

As a result of which volunteers will feel valued and are more likely to continue their volunteering

The outcomes and impact for the care home include:

  • Staff, residents and relatives are more aware of the volunteers’ input
  • Staff, residents and relatives build up a relationship with the volunteers
  • Any potential problems are quickly brought to light and managed

As a result, volunteers have the potential to improve the quality of residents’ care.

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Page last edited Aug 12, 2015

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