Background Staff working in a care setting should have a minimum training based on their Care Certificate (Cavendish, 2013). Sixth form students have been achieving a Care Certificate through a supported learning programme within the hospice (Wilcocks & Marshall, 2017). Adult volunteers were inspired by what these students have achieved and asked if a similar opportunity could be provided to adults, enabling their volunteering time to support the clinical staff in a more practical way.
Aims Facilitating volunteers to develop care skills, in order to provide the hospice with a brand new team of ‘Care Volunteers’.
Methods Volunteers who approached the education team were interviewed; four were accepted for a pilot project. A range of training and work plans were organised including:
Induction in statutory and mandatory topics
An overview of palliative care
The outline of the Care Certificate standards and workbook
Buddies allocated to monitor, support, advise, shadow and provide feedback
Mobile messaging application used for communication and support
Weekly tutorials and observations of competencies
Practical competencies include moving and handling, personal care, nutrition and hydration.
Results Four adult volunteers completed their Care Certificate within eight weeks, working half a day a week. Two now work as care volunteers on inpatient ward, two have taken their care skills to the Hospice at Home team; one has been recruited to a paid role.
Quotes from Care Volunteers:
‘I am so proud of myself ….taking on this learning at my age’
‘I always dreamed I would be a nurse, now I feel my dream has pretty much come true’
Quote from Staff
‘Invaluable’…. ‘The support these learners are providing staff and families has already made a massive impact to our services’
Conclusion Comprehensive training can empower volunteers to provide a key role in supporting hands on patient care. Growing our own staff has now become a reality.
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