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Case study on volunteer matching in care homes

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One Westminster and St Georges' Nursing Home share with us an example of successful volunteer and resident matching. The personal information of those in the case studies has been altered to protect their privacy.


Mr A is an 89 year old man who was admitted to a nursing home following a stroke which left him with a left sided paralysis.

He is an educated man who had a very successful professional career.

When the co-ordinator visited him to ask what support he required, he had a very clear brief. He still enjoyed research and was continuing to research and write but due to his disability struggled to type and organise his notes

He asked if he could have a volunteer who had a PA background to provide the necessary administrative support to enable him to continue his research.

Issue(s) we faced

The main issue here was recruiting a volunteer who could meet such specific requirements.

What we did

We drafted a role description. As we had completed a round of interviews recently, we consulted our volunteer base. Volunteers are asked on application what skills and interests they would like to share and we found a volunteer who had just completed the recruitment process who had a PA background and who wanted to give something back to Society by sharing these skills. We approached her and asked her if this role would be of interest to her.

What went well

Having a clear volunteer role description enabled the project to recruit a volunteer who was motivated to enter into a befriending relationship with a resident. The application form asks potential volunteers to list their skills and experiences they will be brining to the role. 

Listening to the resident’s requirements and then matching those with the skills and experiences of those who had applied to befriend a resident enabled this successful match.

It was not surprising that in finding a match for this unusual circumstance would lead to the volunteer and resident sharing other areas of common ground.

What didn't go well

Key lessons learnt

The relationship with the volunteer and resident is going from strength to strength. They have identified that they had worked for the same company albeit at different times and their relationship has included the volunteer introducing the resident to other members of her family. 

Mr A was delighted with the support he was receiving as it meant that he could pursue his passion. In his letter of support of the project he wrote, “She has been very helpful to me, bringing her partner over to deal with an issue on the computer…. being taken out to lunch….”.  At the end of his letter he states that “he has been “very lucky that P has been allocated to me”.

This bespoke matching of resident’s needs with the appropriate skills and experiences of volunteers illustrates that the impact can be very profound.

Page last edited Mar 15, 2016

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