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Exploring the role of volunteers in social care for older adults

Cameron, Ailsa, Johnson, Eleanor K., Willis, Paul B. ORCID:, Lloyd, Liz and Smith, Randall 2020. Exploring the role of volunteers in social care for older adults. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults 21 (2) , pp. 129-139. 10.1108/QAOA-02-2020-0005

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Purpose This paper aims to report the findings of a study that explores the contribution volunteers make to social care for older adults, identifying lessons for the social care sector and policymakers. Design/methodology/approach An exploratory multiple case study design was used to capture the perspectives and experiences of managers of services, volunteer co-ordinators, volunteers, paid care staff and older people. Seven diverse social care organisations took part in the study drawn from three locations in the South West of England. Findings This study identified three distinct models of volunteer contribution to social care services for older people. Although the contributions made by volunteers to services are valued, the study drew attention to some of the challenges related to their involvement. Research limitations/implications The organisations taking part in this small-scale study were all based in the South West of England, and the findings are therefore not generalisable but contribute to the growing evidence base related to this important field. Practical implications This study demonstrates the importance of the volunteer co-ordinator role and suggests that it is properly funded and resourced. It also confirms the importance of volunteers receiving appropriate training and support. Originality/value Given the increasing involvement of volunteers in the provision of social care, this paper provides lessons to ensure the role of volunteers in social care enhances rather than diminishes the quality of care provided.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1471-7794
Funders: NIHR School for Social Care Research
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2024 15:15

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