In the Analysis Report, the majority of hospice community volunteer programmes were described as staff led with volunteers delivering support. Only a small number of Hospice Neighbours or Compassionate Neighbour programmes described themselves as community of volunteer led.
Despite many organisations describing very structured community volunteering programmes, a number of hospices were moving away from this model to towards a more empowered ‘light touch’ approach.
A range of factors may influence the type of community volunteering programme appropriate to your organisation including:
- requirements of funders
- local community – needs, demographics, services
- organisational philosophy of palliative care
- organisational culture
- level of trust in, and empowerment of, volunteers
- organisational attitude to risk
- level of support from trustees and senior staff
- charitable objectives
- experiences of other hospice community volunteering programmes
- available resources.
What type of support will volunteers provide and for how long?
Findings from the Analysis Report showed that volunteers provide a range of support to people with PEOLC needs and their families. There were three main types of support:
- Practical support such as shopping, housework, collecting prescriptions, helping with meals, accompanying to appointments.
- Social support such as enabling people to enjoy hobbies, accompanying on outings, helping people to stay connected to their community.
- Emotional support such as sitting with people, listening, being with people in the last hours of life.
The majority of support was offered for as long as required by recipients and in some programmes bereavement support was offered. More details of the type, length of support offered and how referrals are made can be found in the Analysis Report Section 2 Resources section and case studies.