The Motivations and Experiences of Day-Hospice Volunteers: a qualitative study

Field-Richards, Sarah (2009) The Motivations and Experiences of Day-Hospice Volunteers: a qualitative study. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Aim: To explore the motivations and experiences of hospice volunteer workers in a UK day-hospice.

Background: National health policy has long stressed the importance of involving and using volunteers as resources for enhancing the quality of health and social services. Traditionally, hospices rely on volunteer contributions for the delivery of care to individuals nearing the end of life. If nurses are to ensure the recruitment, retention and support of volunteers, their motivations, experiences and subsequent needs must be understood.

Method: Underpinned by an interpretive approach, 12 day-hospice volunteers participated in semi-structured interviews which were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. Themes identified were considered to represent the motivations and experiences of the sample. Similarly, sub-themes identified represented variations in the meaning of themes for volunteers.

Findings: Volunteers’ motivations related to ‘the need for meaningful activity’, ‘giving something and giving something back’ and the desire for ‘re-integration, participation and mutuality’. The experience of being an established day-hospice volunteer was characterised by ‘personal development’, ‘escapism and normalisation’ for patients, the influence of ‘wider societal culture’, methods of ‘coping’ and issues associated with ‘organisational context’. Examination of sub-themes revealed that variations in the meaning of themes were due to the volunteers’ unique personal context.

Conclusion: Uniquely, this study provided insight into day-hospice volunteers’ motivations and experiences and suggests they are numerous, interrelated and meanings ascribed to them are informed by each volunteers’ personal context. When supporting volunteers, hospice nurses should appreciate their diversity and modesty and strive to reflect this in recruitment efforts. Future research is needed to assess the transferability of findings to other day-hospices and could consider the impact of volunteers’ professionalization upon nurses, care processes and patients through replication of this study’s methodology.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2009 08:24
Last Modified: 16 May 2016 00:23

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