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P-279 Innovative involvement of volunteers in clinical roles in a hospice setting
  1. Karen Filsell,
  2. Dot Partington,
  3. Duncan Brown,
  4. Vicky Hill and
  5. Yvonne Whitehouse
  1. St Columba’s Hospice, Edinburgh, UK


Background Volunteers are vital to hospices in helping to deliver high quality care. As a hospice with over 600 volunteers we included in our current five year strategy a commitment to ‘recruit the right volunteers into the right roles’.

Method Historically volunteer teams were principally under the management of the Volunteer Services team. Through reviewing their roles, responsibility and the management structure, the volunteers were integrated into existing clinical teams. Based on the review a number of changes were implemented:

  • The role of the volunteers in our new Day Care Service model became integrated into the clinical team structure. This included joint educational programme for staff and volunteers and management of the volunteer team was adopted by the manager of Day Therapy Services staff

  • The role of volunteers was extended in the Clinical Governance team where our volunteers have become essential members of the team and are taking active part in leading on and delivering specific projects within the hospice

  • We involve expert volunteers into the hospice on a more ad hoc basis. A consultant radiologist was recruited as a volunteer to purchase an ultrasound machine, provide education for staff and oversee the implementation and use of this new equipment.


  • Our volunteers are now fully integrated into the different teams they work with rather than seen as belonging to the Volunteer Services team

  • Through joint education as well as staff knowing the volunteers better there is more confidence around their role and what they can contribute

  • The volunteers being supported on the ground and within the team by the team manager enables them to contribute fully within their role.

Conclusion Working to ‘recruit the right volunteers into the right roles’ has challenged staff in the hospice to think more creatively about the roles that they offer to volunteers.

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