Since retiring from nursing, Clare Greenfield has been volunteering for panels and local voluntary organisations. As this week’s guest blogger, Clare gives her take on the value of volunteering in care settings.
‘It is well recognised that there are increasing numbers of volunteers involved in health care settings with significant benefits to both the volunteer and those who receive help. There are a range of opportunities for volunteers to become part of health and social care provision.
Volunteers provide unpaid support for the benefit of others. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, with diverse skills and a willingness to become involved and committed.
Older and retired people, students and school-agers make up the inter-generational aspect of volunteering. Volunteering together helps create opportunities to make friends and learn from each other.
Befriending, companionship and practical support are core elements in volunteering. The aim is to improve patient/user experience in whatever setting that might be.
Volunteering is good for you! Evidence indicates that it has a positive impact on the volunteer by improving self esteem, well being and social engagement. It can reflect a cohesive and caring community.
Volunteers in care settings are often health care users themselves, so they are able to recognise excellence in care as well as being able to voice concerns and make suggestions for improvements.
Appropriately trained volunteers can work alongside staff to provide extra care and undivided attention to people receiving health care. Boundaries between professional and volunteer roles need to be clear and sensitivities around job substitutions addressed.
Volunteers are an invaluable resource who make a huge and positive impact in the overall health and wellbeing of us all.
Whether a volunteer, a patient or care provider, your experiences and comments will be valuable to those who are reviewing how best to manage and implement volunteering projects.’
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