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A Carer Volunteer Scheme

Engage your local communities to help provide free voluntary end of life care to those who need it!

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

A scheme to get people volunteering as carers for people nearing end of life could help combat this and also strengthen local communities.

I have recently finished an extensive project on End of Life care at Imperial College London with 6 colleagues (all medical students). We found that one of the reasons many people do not get access to the end-of-life experience they would like is because there is a shortage of NHS funding for the necessary care. For example, some people would need 24 hour carers to help them out at home in their last days, weeks or months.

For many, this is unattainable on public funding & unaffordable if done privately. To combat the lack of funding, a possible solution is to engage the 'free' resources we have available to us and that is the youth and non-working citizens in our local communities. Instead of using NHS funding to pay for a formal carer, simpler jobs could be performed by unpaid volunteers from within the community. 


We could set up a system where people, such a medical students, college students (or anyone after being CRB checked!) could sign up (perhaps on a website or app) to volunteer their time to help with tasks around the house or even just to provide some company to older citizens who want company. People needing help could also sign up to the scheme and be matched with a volunteer (as a double sided platform). The volunteer could perhaps choose to go back to the same home to help develop rapport with the patient or their family. 

To incentivise these individuals to sign up and help patients or families of patients in their last days, weeks or months, we could offer credit in the form of work experience points etc that the volunteer could put on their CV. Other than that, volunteering is also just a nice thing to do for free and can give the volunteer a sense of fulfilment- some people do genuinely enjoy helping others out of the goodness of their heart!

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Gathering a small number of volunteers and setting up a system where people volunteer a couple hours of their time per week or month etc. to help care for dying patients in their local communities. This could be a short term experiment and we could interview both the volunteers and the patients after a week or a month to see whether the scheme has benefited them.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Setting up a website and collaborating with the right people to get volunteers on board. Organisations to collaborate with could include hospices, schools, universities, GPs, religious groups, community outreach centres etc . There could also be an app where people sign up to help out at peoples' homes at certain hours or dates. Volunteers would also probably need to be CRB checked and be provided with uniforms to make it more professional.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a 5th year medical student at Imperial College London and have spent the last year undertaking research in End Of Life care to understand how we can enable more people to achieve their end of life wishes, such as dying in their preferred place. I have experience in art and design and business.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • A student collaboration

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Team

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Hi Aaniya, 

Yes agree with you on the power of volunteering! 

I got a similar ideas about volunteer, and from the volunteer perspective to on "planning now", idea is to use the volunteer opportunities to "learn/experience" how it feel to get old/age/dying, and eventually turn those insight to "plan now" on dying and hopefully change the perspective of dying, e.g. to treasure the time and life and the love one now..etc. 
might be could check out my post here: 
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/end-of-life/ideas/volunteering-in-a-hospital-elderly-home-hospice-etc

Cheers, 
Emerald