Summary of focused discussion held on 1 June 2022

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Created by Debbie Ambrose - Last updated 18 days ago | Tags:

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15 June 2022 at 12:08pm
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Volunteer support for patients on discharge pathways

There are many opportunities for volunteers to support patients on discharge pathways and these include

  • Enhanced Ward support roles - offering extra support to patients getting ready for discharge/supporting on day of discharge

  • Discharge Lounge volunteers

  • Discharge Patient ‘check in’ phone calls to patients on returning home from hospital - 24/48 hours following hospital discharge/follow up calls 2 weeks later

  • Patient transport - volunteers taking patients home

  • Support at home - from VSCE sector services community based volunteers - linked to hospital


Volunteer Roles discussed

  • A new role is being piloted based in an acute setting on a stroke ward. The volunteers role will be to prepare people to access community services and use apps for self management.

  • Volunteers supporting carers. In particular new carers to make sure that they have the right support and manage their expectations. Carers often do not have a realistic view of what to expect once the patient is home.

  • Transport volunteers can really help with the discharge process however, insurance can be a stumbling block.

  • Going home bags containing basic essentials are proving popular - dietary requirements need to be considered. One trust is compiling a list of local support services to include with the going home bag.

  • Volunteer phone calls for 5 days post discharge to make sure that they’ve got the shopping in and that they are feeling okay.

  • What happens when the patient being called says they are not okay?


Kingston has a clear procedure. There are 3 levels:

  • Low level risk - call volunteering service

  • Medium level risk - alert statutory organisation

  • High level risk - immediate danger - call 999

They also have a paid coordinator so if something is complex they are able to step in.

Laura has shared her document which you can find in our resources here.

  • Volunteer group dealing with life skills like money management and digital skills.

  • Wellbeing Collaborative - helping people to get home from hospital and avoiding readmission by connecting with other support groups.


Issues discussed

  • Some have lost a lot of volunteers and are having difficulty getting them back.

  • Engagement with clinical staff is a struggle for many volunteering teams, especially as volunteers have not been present on wards throughout the pandemic.

  • Keeping discharge volunteers busy as there are not always enough patients requiring discharge assistance.

  • Asking pointed questions before discharge can open up many issues that a patient may have and would have otherwise been missed.

  • There are a lot of these services already out there so you need to be careful not to duplicate, wasting money and volunteer time. A good use of the volunteer would be to have them signposting on to these services.

  • It has been noticed that there is poor planning for over 80s women who need more focused care and support

  • Some volunteer managers commented that transporting patients home following discharge carries too much risk for the role of a volunteer.

  • It would be useful to have evidence / guidance to ensure that patients’ needs are covered when they return home - the Patient Experience Team or PALS team may be able to help with this.


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