Baycrest – A Look at a Premier Volunteer Program

Picture of Baycrest marquee
Baycrest – Toronto

For the past 25 years, I have been advocating for people to visit the people living in nursing homes. So often nursing home residents do not get visitors which may lead to feelings of loneliness and uselessness.

Over the last seven years I have been advocating for nursing homes to not only expand their volunteer programs but to expand the role of the volunteer in their nursing homes.

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Volunteer Programs and Your Public Image

female volunteer with older woman
Volunteers change persceptions…

Perceptions are everything. From my earliest days of military training to the present, I have been taught and now am teaching my own students and volunteers that perceptions powerfully influence the way people think and react.  This holds true for nursing homes as well. Recruiting volunteers is challenging particularly when it comes to recruiting volunteers for nursing homes.

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Kristiansund kommune

As promised, VolunCheerLeader.com will highlight great volunteer programs and promote the idea that volunteers, i.e., “super” volunteers can take on increased responsibilities to become a trained and meaningful support for professional care staff who are often stressed and overworked, with residents, patients who suffer from what Dr. Bill Thomas calls the “Three Plagues: boredom, uselessness and loneliness.”

Daily, I’m on social media watching for hints of such programs and to my great Emilie Strømmen Olsendelight, this title appeared in Twitter: “Volunteer Service for Nursing Home Residents.” I immediately clicked on it, and Kristiansund kommune (2)discovered Emilie Strommen Olsen, senior program designer for DesignIt.  She and her team developed a nursing home volunteer program for a facility in Kristiansund, Norway.  I immediately emailed heKristiansund kommune (1)r and arranged a Skype interview with her and the administrator of the nursing home, Stephanie Helland.

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How do you recruit 800 volunteers?

art group in tawa

As you know, VolunCheerLeader  is on a quest to identify and highlight outstanding volunteer programs.  My journey is taking to me many different places to include Auckland, New Zealand.  Recently, while explaining my mission to someone they immediately piped up and said, “You have to meet Jill Woodward, CEO of Elizabeth Knox Nursing Home and Hospital.  After a series of emails, we scheduled a telephone call (Skype) and to no real surprise to me, the person who answered the call, Jill, was obviously full of passion, high energy and expert in her work.  I spent about an hour talking with her.  Later, I had the pleasure of meeting the Kristen O’Reilly, newly appointed to head Community Partnerships. Kristen was originally hired to develop the volunteer program for Knox.  Here are excerpts from my communications with them.  Read more…

“What about liability?”

One of the first questions I get from owner/operators of nursing homes concerning volunteers is, “What about liability?” 

volunteer reading to nursing home resident
My response: “What about it?”

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Prior to the Nursing Home Reform Act…

Paul P. Falkowski PhD
Paul P. Falkowski, PhD

The history of volunteers and their role in nursing homes is of great interest to me at the moment.  I’m writing about the evolution of the volunteer role in nursing homes before and after the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987.

There is no doubt that the NHRA brought about significant and positive changes to the way older adults were viewed and how they received care.

However did we inadvertently hamstring nursing home volunteers in the process?

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Welcome!

 

Paul P. Falkowski PhD
Paul P. Falkowski. PhD

Delivering quality, “person-centered” care is a global need.  People from around the world will gather here to collaborate, and to promote the “super” volunteer, the “credentialed” volunteer for nursing homes.

Wherever there are nursing homes, whether in U.S. or the UK, there is a ever growing need for highly trained, highly committed, compassionate, passionate volunteers serving older adults in nursing homes.  For the foreseeable future, severe staffing shortages will jeopardize the ability of nursing homes to provide quality care.  But, there are people in our communities who care about the living conditions older adults are facing. They care very much.  They have the capacity to learn new skills.  They possess a strong passion for older adults and they are willing to be trained and serve along side professional staff, not to replace them, but to support them.   They do this as a way to give back to their communities while satisfying a deep desire to serve.

Volun-Cheer-Leader will spotlight people and organizations who share this same zeal and are already engaged in expanding the role of volunteers in nursing homes.  In addition, Volun-Cheer-Leader will present best practices, current research and guest bloggers.  This is an exciting start to what I believe is an ever increasing critical component in the delivery of long-term care.

Please join me by subscribing to this blog and join the conversation!  I’m looking forward to meeting all of you!  Please feel free to email me, offer your comments  and share you thoughts about creating “credentialed” volunteers for nursing homes!

Have a great week!

Paul