Background Treetops Hospice, in partnership with University of Derby have commenced a research project exploring the outcomes of developing volunteers, in initiating conversations around quality of life. As a pilot site work for NHS England for Personal Health Budgets (PHB’s), Treetops discovered that the ‘conversations’ around what’s important right now to the patient/carer can be just as important, than the outcome of the PHB. This is a vital piece of work which directly could impact on improving individual’s wellbeing, the new approach focuses around the mnemonic L.I.S.T.E.N (developed by Treetops Hospice). Policy drivers have acknowledged that there is a much greater need and demand for person centred care than professionals in health and social care can meet, the barriers around developing these conversations, possibly relate to lack of time and clarity to whose role it is. Volunteers and support workers may be advantageous in having these conversations with the right support and development.
Methods There is a mixed methods approach to this research in two separate stages, involving 14 volunteers and support staff.
First stage Face to face qualitative interviews prior to exposure of new training/model of developing these conversations and pre-training Likert questionnaire have been undertaken.
Results Thematic analysis using NVIVO, to address study objectives from first stage, has identified variables in how participants engage with individuals prior to this support and training. Emerging themes are: discussions around whose role is it; feeling valued within their role; being given ‘permission’ and motivation around having these conversations.
Conclusions Second stage is now being undertaken, emerging themes will be presented in APM Conference. This stage will focus on identifying whether a different approach has helped, and volunteers’ feedback will inform training developments and dissemination about how to support volunteers in having honest conversations about quality of life.
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