The place of volunteering in palliative care

Watts, Jacqueline H. (2012). The place of volunteering in palliative care. In: Chang, E. and Johnson, A. eds. Contemporary and Innovative Practice in Palliative Care. InTech, pp. 83–102.




This chapter discusses the place and development of volunteering in palliative care in the context of hospice service provision in the UK. It draws on recent qualitative research undertaken in a large hospice in England. The research explored a range of issues connected to the process and experience of voluntary work in this setting including who volunteers, what roles volunteers take up, how they are trained and supported and the ways in which role boundaries are established and maintained. The research revealed that hospice volunteering is rewarding but often emotionally challenging and is now highly routinised and closely monitored in ways paralleling practices in the paid labour market. Although volunteers freely give their time to the work of hospice, their activities are subject to significant management prescription, with hospices increasingly adopting sophisticated business models to underpin their operation and, in many cases, their expansion (Watts, 2010).

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