Developing Innovative Volunteer Services in the NHS 

Helpforce | February 2019 | Developing Innovative Volunteer Services in the NHS 

This report summarises the key Insight and Impact findings from the five hospital trusts in the first Helpforce innovators programme. The publication of this report coincides with the launch of Helpforce’s new Volunteering Innovators Programme. 

Over the next 18 months, Helpforce will work with 12 new NHS hospital trusts (with 10 being funded by NHS England and two by the Royal Voluntary Service) to develop high-impact volunteer innovations that will be refined and shared to help other trusts in the UK adopt effective volunteer services.

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Image source: helpforce.community

The ten funded by the NHS England grant will each receive a £75,000 grant, and all twelve will have access to a range of supporting services, digital tools, resources and guidance. The trusts, who were chosen through a competitive process which received 115 applications from 90 trusts, will focus on a range of specific volunteer roles. The volunteer interventions have been identified as those which could make the most impact if refined, tested and scaled to other NHS settings.

In order to support continuous improvement and impact management, the trusts collected both insights data, which is predominantly anecdotal and observational, and impact data, which is designed to measure impact in a more systematic, robust way. Insight gathering took precedence during the early parts of the project, especially as the trusts were establishing their new interventions and learning how to run and measure their projects. Impact work still played a role in this early stage – mainly through talking with patients, staff and volunteers, as well as capturing data from these stakeholders through surveys  (Source: Helpforce).

See also:

Helpforce  Launching our Volunteer Innovators Programme and two new reports

In the news: How NHS workers really DO calm nerves and boost care: Hospital volunteers help prevent malnutrition, falls and loneliness, research shows

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Volunteering in general practice

Volunteering in general practice: Opportunities and insights | The Kings Fund 

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The King’s Fund has published ‘Volunteering in general practice: opportunities and insights‘.  This paper explores how volunteers can provide support for the role of general practice, and the opportunities for organisations that currently support volunteering to work more closely with general practice.

Publication overview:

  • Interest is growing in the contribution that volunteering can make in health and social care. This paper builds on our previous work, which examined volunteering in hospitals, to explore ways in which volunteers are involved with, and are contributing to, general practice.
  • The authors identify four approaches to supporting volunteering in general practice: use of volunteers to enable general practice to carry out its activities; organisations using volunteer support that were located within general practice premises; social prescribing; and community-centred general practices.
  • 10 case studies are explored, which demonstrate that approaches to supporting volunteering in general practice provide an opportunity for practices to engage beyond their traditional boundaries, creating an interface with voluntary and community sector organisations and with the wider community.
  • The practice examples highlight the importance of partnership work to support and sustain volunteering, the different design and resource considerations in choosing an appropriate approach, the support and management requirements for volunteers and strategic factors that influence success and sustainability.

Full document:   Volunteering in general practice: opportunities and insights.

Engaging Health Care Volunteers to Pursue the Triple Aim

New reimbursement models, pressure to reduce costs, increased emphasis on prevention and relentless focus on the patient experience and clinical outcomes require attention to patients and families in new ways | American Hospital Association

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Image source: AHA

As hospitals, health systems and other providers navigate this evolution, health care volunteers stand out as key contributors in the success of pursuing the Triple Aim, a framework developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement that outlines an approach for maximizing the performance of the health care system. The intent is that every activity or process be aligned with these three domains:

  • Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction)
  • Improving the health of populations
  • Reducing the per-capita cost of health care.

High-performing health care organizations are striving to adhere to these principles as they seek to best serve their patients, families and communities.

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Image source: AHA

This resource showcases how Volunteer Services strategically supports the Triple Aim. The information comes from interviews with volunteers, auxilians, directors of volunteer services and chief executive officers, who shared critical success factors in engaging volunteers in these efforts. It features case examples depicting how volunteers support the Triple Aim, including programs dedicated to:

  • Reducing avoidable readmissions
  • Improving the patient experience
  • Improving HCAHPS scores
  • Enhancing community engagement
  • Improving quality
  • Increasing health care access
  • Lowering health care costs
  • Improving patient safety

Read the full report here