A recent report has shown the positive impact that volunteering in care homes has on residents and staff and provides recommendations for care homes on how to utilise volunteers
Today is International Volunteers Day, and to raise awareness on the significant positive impact volunteering in care homes has not just for residents but for staff too, we’re discussing a recent report that highlights the many benefits volunteering in care homes has, and how care homes can make the best use of volunteers.
The report, entitled Reimagining Social Care – The Role of Active Citizenship, was released in December 2022, and found that volunteering in social care settings has a profound impact on boosting wellbeing, mood and cognitive function among residents, as well as keeping them engaged and connected to the wider community.
The report also sets out recommendations for care homes to build on the contributions made by volunteers to improve the quality of life not just for residents and their families but for staff also.
In the report, half of care home staff cited that volunteering in care homes helped to reduce the pressures on colleagues as one of the biggest contributing factors of volunteering. It also highlighted benefits such as improved job satisfaction and reduced levels of work-related stress.
Almost all care staff currently working with volunteers (98%), said that they ‘enjoyed working with volunteers’, and 90% of staff that are not currently working with volunteers in care homes said they would welcome more volunteers in care settings. Those not currently working with volunteers also cited benefits such as companionship, mealtime support and leading on social activities that could be provided.
For residents, it was identified that a well-designed programme of volunteering in care homes can improve mood, cognitive function and overall improvement in the quality of care and family satisfaction with the care being provided to their loved ones.
The report also provides recommendations to care homes and the wider care industry for utilising volunteers to enhance the quality of life for residents and quality of care, as well as to benefit and support unpaid carers and families, improve the staff retention and create a pipeline for future work within the care industry.
These recommendations are:
- To grow volunteer numbers through increasing public awareness and reducing barriers to volunteering in social care.
- To build the demand for volunteers through greater engagement and awareness among staff on the role of volunteers within their workplace, and greater input from staff on volunteer training and roles/activities.
- To maximise outcomes for residents and staff through structured programmes that include consistent volunteers, sustained & frequent levels of activities, and balance in sociable and practical duties.
- To develop careers through well-designed volunteer programs that support volunteers’ progression into meaningful careers in social care