Bridgepoint Health

Voluncaring - Hospital Volunteerism

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TVolunCaring Posteroday's hospital volunteers are more diverse than ever. They range from teenagers to retirees, come from a variety of backgrounds, and bring a multitude of professional and life experiences.

Although there has been some emerging literature to understand the role of hospital volunteerism, most of the current literature has focused on the role of volunteers in the context of palliative care and within the hospice setting.

The fact that the role of this human resource in an inpatient rehabilitation setting has not been as extensively studied as most other groups who have direct patient contact; signifies that volunteers remain as a largely untapped resource of skills and knowledge that can complement the work of paid professionals.

Meeting the needs of stroke rehabilitation patients and providing optimum holistic care can be a challenging task for all rehabilitation team members. Tapping into all available resources can enhance the functioning of the rehabilitation team, as well as allowing for better support of the patients and their families. Volunteerism represents one of the potentially unrecognized resources to provide that "extra mile" in care that is necessary to ensure patient and family satisfaction with care.  

Clarifying the role of volunteers in relation to stroke rehabilitation will help guide the development of further volunteer programs. This project aims to shed the light on how and where volunteers fit into the stroke rehabilitation team, and how to best utilize volunteers to expand and augment employee skills in a budget neutral way, making the most of the time and effort generously donated by volunteers to ultimately improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Researcher: Michelle Nelson

Funders: Manulife

 

To learn more about Volunteering, please visit our Hospital Volunteer Network Site.