Dr Ros Scott and Mag Leena Pelttari MSc (Palliative Care), Co-chairs of the EAPC Task Force on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care.
Volunteering plays a very significant role in hospice and palliative care. But when you start to think about the word ‘volunteering’ what does it mean to you? How would you describe it? This one word covers a very diverse group of individuals of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, life experiences, values and motivations, who undertake many varied activities and work in very different hospice and palliative care settings in many countries of the world.
So how can we begin to understand this complex world of volunteering so that we can effectively support and develop this precious resource in a local, regional, national and European context?
The EAPC Task Force on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care has taken on this challenge and is working on several projects that we hope will help us to understand more about this complex phenomenon called volunteering. Firstly, we are discussing a European definition for Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care. Then, in partnership with Professor Lukas Radbruch and Katharina Pabst, we are undertaking a survey of national organisations, volunteer managers and volunteers in Europe looking at areas such as volunteer numbers, motivations, training, management and challenges. We are also developing a position paper on volunteering, which we hope will provide a basis for discussion and enable us to come to a shared view of hospice and palliative care volunteering in Europe. From this, we hope to develop a charter for volunteering to empower volunteers.
2nd Symposium: ‘Colourful Life of Hospice Volunteers in Europe’
One of our most exciting projects is a symposium to be held on 9 April 2015 in Vienna (see link below). After a successful symposium at the EAPC World Congress in Prague, in 2013, we’re organising this second symposium with Hospice Austria, the national organisation of hospice and palliative care institutions.
The main focus will be the future of volunteering in Europe 2020. How is volunteering changing in different European countries? Is there a common direction, or does development differ depending on the country? The EAPC Task Force position paper and the first results of our European study will be discussed. We’ll also do collaborative work on the charter for empowerment of volunteering. Volunteers will tell their stories and learn from each other by networking, encouraged by international contacts and exchange of ideas.
Later this year, we plan to launch a stories project to collect the experiences of volunteers and volunteer managers in their own words and languages (with English translation). We hope this will illustrate the survey findings and the theories about volunteering and its coordination, set out in the position paper.
It’s been a busy and productive year for the Task Force. We still have much to achieve but we are convinced that our work can help to make a difference to the development of volunteering in hospice and palliative care in Europe.
Links and resources
- 2nd Symposium: ‘Colourful Life of Hospice Volunteers in Europe’
(In English and German. Free of charge but you must register to attend).
- Volunteer Coordinators are invited to complete the EAPC online survey.
- The EAPC Task Force on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care.
Are you coming to Copenhagen?
Dr Ros Scott and Mag. Leena Pelttari MSc. (Palliative Care) will be running a Meet the Expert session on The future of Hospice and Palliative Care from a volunteering perspective on Sunday 10 May 2015 at the 14th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care in Copenhagen, Denmark. Follow us on Twitter @EAPCOnlus – our official congress hashtag is #eapc2015