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Developing a successful volunteer induction process into the care home

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One Westminster shares the volunteer induction and feedback mechanism it co-developed with the care homes to establish a committed volunteer base.

Background

In the Volunteering in Care Homes project, volunteers are recruited through the volunteer centre and once interviews, references and DBS checks are completed they are introduced to the care home and the resident (s), they will be supporting.

This handover process involves:

  • Liaising with both care home staff and volunteer to arrange a date.
  • Liaison with the  volunteer stating the name of the care home, contact number, person to report to in the home, date and time of the appointment, the gender and any distinct activity/language of the resident.
  • Liaison with the specific Care Home manager who will be on duty for the induction, and other managers are copied in, stating the name of the volunteer any other distinct information that has been agreed to be shared, date and time of induction.

The above is then followed up  with a summary phone call to make sure that all the necessary information has been received because some appointments are booked at very short notice

The issues we faced

The care home staff were and are very busy but as most of the volunteers are new to this area of volunteering, we needed to ensure the staff prioritised time for the induction of the volunteer.

The actions we took

We held face-to-face meetings with the care home staff and informed them of who had completed the volunteer induction training and who were still waiting, to ensure that the volunteer received the necessary support and supervision depending on where they were in induction/training process.

Positive outcomes

The induction in to the care home which the care home staff lead on is very important. It includes the care home’s policies and procedures such as safeguarding vulnerable adults and confidentiality, location of fire exits, introduction to all other staff on duty in the home and being taken around the home to the different units.

The care home staff get to know the volunteers by asking why they have chosen to volunteer in a care home and to identify their expectations.  One volunteer fed back, “This morning I had a tour around the care home and then chatted to B for an hour. I think it was all positive!”

This process made the volunteer feel part of the care home team and feedback from the volunteers highlighted that it was important preparation for the start of their volunteering experience within the care home.   One volunteer stated “My experience was absolutely fantastic!!!!!!! I love the care home despite only being there for a little while! The resident that I was paired with is such a lovely person and I'm looking forward to spending time with her.”

The feedback mechanism was very important as the volunteer centre could then relay the volunteers’ comments and help to improve the induction process.

It instilled confidence in the volunteers as they were reassured through this process that if they had a problem they had a key contact in the home to speak with, in addition  to external support from the volunteer centre’s  project co-ordinator.  One volunteer commented, “The staff are very helpful. They are open to discussion even with their very heavy schedule”.

Negative outcomes

The care home staff are very busy and whilst they are very supportive of the volunteers and appreciate all they contribute, we still have to make unscheduled visits to the home for information to complete the induction handover.

 

Lessons learnt

The established induction process  for volunteers into the care home has resulted in:

  • Volunteers integrated into the care home team
  • A good rapport between all parties – volunteer centre staff, care home staff, volunteers and residents
  • Enthusiastic volunteers who are keen to be placed
  • An induction that is continually evolving based on the feedback mechanism so that it is responsive to the needs of residents and volunteers.

This in turn leads to a regular/stable volunteer force within the care home where residents get continuity of support and care home staff have committed volunteers.

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Page last edited Aug 11, 2015

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