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P-165  Volunteer care navigators: enriching patient networks
  1. Vicky Lachenicht and
  2. Toni Hiscocks
  1. Hospiscare, Exeter, UK


Background The hospice’s strategic model of care review in 2014 found that patients wanted sustained face-to-face contact from their clinical nurse specialist. This is expensive so we developed the volunteer care navigator role. These are trained volunteers who develop trusting relationships with patients and their families, offer sustained emotional and practical support; signpost to relevant agencies and help with navigating the local health and social care system. The project was supported by a grant from the St James’s Place Foundation.


  • To care for more people at home, giving the hospice’s palliative care nurse specialists more time to support more complex needs

  • To support more people to access and benefit from local statutory or voluntary services

  • To develop a new high-level volunteer model that can be shared and replicated.

Our approach

  • Volunteering Manager recruited and trained a team of volunteer care navigators (25 as at 1 June 2016)

  • Appointed an Assistant Practitioner to co-ordinate the service

  • Developed comprehensive training programme for the volunteers

  • Ensured the volunteer team were integrated with the hospice’s community palliative care team

  • Supported the volunteers through regular supervision sessions.


  • 51 patient referrals, 1512 volunteering hours (nine months’ data)

  • Map developed and shared of local community agencies and activities

  • Project shared with Association of Volunteer Managers.


  • Improved emotional and practical support evidenced by patient and carer feedback

  • Enriched patient networks evidenced by mapping

  • Clinical nurse specialists’ value enhanced support for patients that enables them to focus on more complex patients.


  • Important service is integrated/co-located with the hospice’s community palliative care nursing team

  • Value of regular volunteer peer learning, support and sharing local knowledge

  • Value of initial and continuing training

  • Important to include dementia awareness in training.

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