The Voice of Volunteering – supporting and learning from the EAPC Madrid Charter on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care

Ros Scott and Leena Pelttari (Co-chairs of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Task Force on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care) and Steven Vanderstichelen (member of the task force steering group) explain.

Clockwise: Leena Pelttari, Ros Scott and Steven Vanderstichelen.

It seems no time at all since the EAPC Madrid Charter on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care ‘Voice of Volunteering’ was launched at the EAPC 15th World Congress in Madrid in May 2017. Eighteen months on, we are delighted by the response and that people in so many countries around the world have been inspired by the charter message: to advocate for the support, recognition, promotion and development of volunteering in hospice and palliative care.

More than 2,500 people from 50 countries – from Albania to India and Japan to the USA – have already signed the Charter. And it’s been translated from English into 12 different languages: Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian and Spanish. If you believe in the difference that hospice and palliative care volunteers can make, then please show your support by signing the Charter here.

The EAPC Madrid Charter on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care has three key aims:

  • Promote the successful development of volunteering for the benefit of patients, families and the wider hospice and palliative care community.
  • Recognise volunteering as a third resource alongside professional care and family care, with its own identity, position and value.
  • Promote research and best practice models in the recruitment, management, support, integration, training and resourcing of volunteers.
EAPC Madrid Charter on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care

Launch of the EAPC Madrid Charter on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care, Madrid 2017. Left to right: Prof Philip Larkin, EAPC President; Dr Julie Ling, CEO of EAPC; Dr Roberto Wenk, Past President of IAHPC; Dr Stephen Connor, Executive Director, WHPCA; Mag a Leena Pelttari, MSc, Co-Chair EAPC Task Force on Volunteering and CEO, Hospice Austria. Photograph: Dr Johann Baumgartner, Hospice Austria.

But why do we need a Volunteering Charter?

Volunteers have long been involved in hospice and palliative care in many countries – in some countries palliative care could not happen without them. Volunteers contribute in various ways, supporting patients, families, and organisations. You may have seen Mijodrag Bogićević’s inspiring blog post about the difference that volunteers are making to BELhospice in Serbia.

Yet, volunteers are still not always recognised for their skills, experience and value to hospice and palliative care organisations and the people that they support. The EAPC Volunteering Charter aims to address this by asking individuals and organisations to commit to:

  • Recognise the important role of volunteers in the total care of patients and their families, and in sustaining hospice and palliative care services.
  • Promote volunteering in support of patients and their families.
  • Ensure effective management of volunteering, including clearly defined policy on roles, careful recruitment, selection, training and development.
  • Ensure effective support for hospice and palliative care volunteering at organisational, local and national levels (including the recognition of the importance of data collection, evaluation and research).

How could the Charter help you to enhance and improve support?

Even in countries with well-established and developed hospice and palliative care volunteering, there is still much to do. For example, do you regularly collect data and report on volunteering activity and impact in your organisation? Is this collected and reported nationally to give an overview of local and national trends to inform future planning? If not – perhaps the Charter can inspire you to start!

Tell us your story …

We are currently collecting short stories (around 400-500 words) from individuals and organisations about the difference the Charter has made to them, their organisation or country.

We would love to hear what influence the Charter has had, the changes that have been made and how they were made. If you want to help, reach out to us by emailing Ros Scott  or Leena Pelttari.

Links

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