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P36 In Patient Unit (IPU) volunteer line management and expansion of volunteer roles and responsibilities
  1. Carol Lane,
  2. Jeanette McCartney and
  3. Louise McCartney
  1. Douglas Macmillan, Stoke on Trent, England


Introduction It was recognised, at the Douglas Macmillan Hospice (DMH), that there was a need to diversify the role of IPU volunteers to support the clinical services. Previous attempts to increase the roles and responsibilities of volunteers on the IPU failed due to: lack of line management, staff perception of volunteer competencies and fear of the loss of staff roles. An IPU volunteer co-ordinator (VC) was appointed to develop the role and to work within best practise line management, as defined and implemented by Voluntary Services across the hospice.

Methods A Band 3 Health Care Support Worker (HCSW) was seconded from the IPU initially for 37.5hours/week for 3 months and 15hours/week subsequently into the role of VC. The HCSW retained clinical hours to maintain clinical skills. The VC worked in consultation with the IPU team to identify additional volunteer roles. The following were identified:

  • Care: e.g. assistance with personal hygiene, nutrional needs

  • Companion: companionship to patients

  • Sitter: being with patients who require supervision e.g. patients who are anxious

  • Escort: escorting hospital appointments

The IPU team were involved in the training and competency process so that they took sownership and responsibility for new volunteers. The VC is responsible for recruitment, training, rostering and appraisal of the volunteers. The staff on the IPU have access to the volunteer details so that they can access the volunteer, if needed, outside of the rostered hours.

Conclusion This role has been well received:


  • Increased volunteer numbers and roles

  • Enhanced the diversity and quality of care provided on the IPU

  • Effective management of volunteers ensuring volunteers are retained, feel valued and integrated into the team

  • A further 10 competencies have been introduced to develop the IPU Care role further including taking and recording blood pressure

Following the success of the role the 3 bed community led DMH unit, recruited a volunteer coordinator for 16hours/week.

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