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Recruiting volunteers with language skills

One Westminster and Carton Dene Residential Care Home explain how they recruited a Spanish speaking volunteer for a resident with dementia who had forgotten her English. Identities of those referred to here have been altered to protect their privacy.

Background

Mrs H is an 86 year old lady with dementia. She is a Spanish national and as her dementia has progressed she has forgotten how to speak English. The care home was concerned that the language barrier was causing social isolation as she could only interact with Spanish speakers. Mrs H's daughter has a job and a family and visits weekly.

We wanted to find a volunteer who could speak Spanish. Staff told us that Mrs H slept a great deal and would only be able to engage with a volunteer for short periods.

The care home staff arranged for us to meet with Mrs H's daughter so that a clear role description could be drafted. The daughter explained us that her mother enjoyed playing dominos and we placed an advert for a volunteer who could speak other languages and enjoyed dominos.

The advert was placed on the websites V base (to try and recruit volunteers local to the care home) and Team London (which has a wider reach and may enable us to reach Spanish speaking volunteers).

Having a clear volunteer role description enabled us to recruit potential volunteers who could speak other languages. As part of the application process we ask what interests and skills the volunteer would like to offer and as a result we found a volunteer who could speak Spanish, play dominos and wanted to improve her English.

The recruitment process was very time consuming and additional interpreting services would have been helpful here.

The impact of this befriending relationship on the resident and volunteer is noted in the following extract from an interview with the care home manager.

Issue(s) we faced

What we did

What went well

What didn't go well

Key lessons learnt

Page last edited Mar 14, 2016

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