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P-274 Effective volunteer support on an inpatient unit (IPU)
  1. Rebekah Ashley and
  2. Ruth Blunt
  1. Wigan and Leigh Hospice, Greater Manchester, UK


Background We acknowledge the value of volunteers and identified a key part of volunteers feeling appreciated is ensuring they are integrated as part of the team. Review in the line management of volunteers for personable continuity. We explored the volunteer workforce, identifying development areas; shift patterns didn’t fully support patients’ needs, patients were not benefitting from volunteer interaction, there was crossover between nursing and volunteering duties. Inconsistencies within training and induction.

Aim To develop a beneficial volunteer support on the IPU, delivering specific training, enhancing skills and knowledge, enabling volunteers to safely fulfil their role whilst feeling empowered and valued as part of the wider team.


  • Review of duties led to a revised job description

  • Established the qualities required to support poorly patients approaching end of life, which formed a person specification

  • Recognition of volunteers’ commitment and ours in a formal volunteer agreement

  • Developing a code of conduct

  • Designing specific training and a tailored induction covering relevant policies, procedures and guidelines

  • Embedding the hospice values in every communication

  • Streamlining duties and shift patterns to avoid duplication

  • Updating volunteer contact/next of kin details and shift preferences.

MethodWe planned and developed a proposal, held consultation meetings discussing the proposed changes and how they incorporated into practice. This was then followed up with take home reference documents, and then awaited their feedback.

Results The process and improvements have transformed relationships, improved teamwork, empowered volunteers and tailored support for patients, carers and staff, creating cohesive specialist care.

Conclusion Volunteers have a good support network; receive a thorough induction, tailored training and biannual team meetings. Volunteers are more committed – reduced non-attendance. Shift patterns reduced – no duplication of duties. Database of contact details and availability.

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