Examples of volunteering roles: Telephone Volunteer

Tags: Guidance, Toolkit

16th March 2021



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Thank you to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for sharing this document.

Role: Telephone Befriender


Your role will be to provide support to patients and staff members during this time of increased pressure on NHS services due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus). We recognise that you may not wish to volunteer in the hospital, but you can provide support from your own home. Many of our patients are going to feel isolated and lonely due to restrictions on visitors. You will be paired up with patients who you can call at a mutually convenient time. Your goal is to provide them with company. Where possible we will try to pair you with someone of a similar age and of similar interests. In order to protect your personal data and that of the patient, you will be calling the bedside phone of each patient rather than their personal phone.

Duties (what you will be doing):

Regular phone call to one or more patients depending on your availability

  • You will be given a conversation prompt and a list of their interests so that you have something to help start the conversation
  • You will raise any concerns about the patient with a designated member of staff
  • You will keep a note of interactions, being careful to observe Trust guidelines on protecting the personal information of our patients

Boundaries (what you won’t be doing):

No clinical care of patients

  • No clinical advice
  • No personal care (e.g. toileting or getting patients changed)
  • No lifting of heavy equipment

Time commitment:

This is a flexible role that you can do to fit around your other commitments. However your commitment does need to be regular and the time of your call needs to be agreed with the patient and nursing team



Requirements of the role:

Age: You must be 16 years or older to volunteer in this role

Accessibility: This role is accessible to people with wheelchairs or who have other mobility issues

As a volunteer you will embody the Trust’s values:

  • Putting patients first
  • Responsive to, and supportive of, patients and staff
  • Open, welcoming and honest
  • Unfailingly kind, treating everyone with respect, compassion and dignity
  • Determined to develop our skills and continuously improve the quality of care

Skills and other requirements:

You must be self-motivated; with an ability to think on your feet and work independently

  • You must be punctual and dependable
  • You must have a professional and friendly demeanour
  • You must be able to hold a good telephone conversation; good listening and conversational skills
  • You must be flexible and eager to learn

You need a thick skin. Some patients might be distressed

Pre-placement checks and training:

You must have an enhanced criminal record check (DBS) for this role. If you do not have one already then we can organise and pay for one

  • You will receive a core volunteering induction
  • You will also receive a local induction and orientation. This will include any training that is relevant to perform your tasks
  • You will receive a volunteer pack


Your volunteering champions are there to support and supervise you during your volunteering placement.