The Open UniversitySkip to content

Exploring the working role of hospice volunteers

Watts, Jacqueline H. (2011). Exploring the working role of hospice volunteers. In: BSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference, 14-16 Sep 2011, University of Chester.

Full text available as:
[img] Microsoft PowerPoint (Version of Record)
Download (114kB)
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Volunteering is now a regular feature of health and social care service provision with volunteers working in diverse contexts such as day care centres, ‘after school’ clubs, hospitals and hospices. The promotion of the idea of an active civil society by successive UK governments has led to the professionalisation of some voluntary work as the product of a partnership between the voluntary sector, government and business. More standardised working practices and semi-formalised aspects of voluntary work have changed the experience of volunteering because, as Morrison (2000: 109) argues, ‘there is a particular and very significant tension between a professionalised managerial approach and a more traditional volunteering ethos’. Volunteers have a well-established place in palliative care, particularly in the hospice setting. Using a case study approach, this paper discusses the diverse roles of volunteers in palliative care highlighting the increasing importance of their work to the successful delivery of hospice services. Issues such as volunteer motivation, training, support, accountability and ethical concerns regarding establishing and maintaining boundaries, are considered. Evidence from the case study suggests that ‘being valued on a professional level’ and ‘doing something useful’ are key motivating factors. The emotional burden of this volunteer work is explored and points to the need to establish personal and social boundaries to help maintain resilience in this sensitive care setting. Whilst there is a high level of commitment by volunteers to the work of hospice, evidence points to the need to nurture these contributions that cannot be taken for granted.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 British Sociological Association
Keywords: end of life care; hospice; voluntary work
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 28949
Depositing User: Jacqueline H. Watts
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2011 08:23
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 09:54
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU