Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: End-of-life (EoL) care volunteers in hospitals are a novel approach to support patients and their close ones. The iLIVE Volunteer Study supported hospital volunteer coordinators from five European countries to design and implement an EoL care volunteer service on general wards in their hospitals. This study aimed to identify and explore barriers and facilitators to the implementation of EoL care volunteer services in the five hospitals. Methods: Volunteer coordinators (VCs) from the Netherlands (NL), Norway (NO), Slovenia (SI), Spain (ES) and United Kingdom (UK) participated in a focus group interview and subsequent in-depth one-to-one interviews. A theory-inspired framework based on the five domains of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) was used for data collection and analysis. Results from the focus group were depicted in radar charts per hospital. Results: Barriers across all hospitals were the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the implementation process, and the lack of recognition of the added value of EoL care volunteers by hospital staff. Site-specific barriers were struggles with promoting the service in a highly structured setting with many stakeholders (NL), negative views among nurses on hospital volunteering (NL, NO), a lack of support from healthcare professionals and the management (SI, ES), and uncertainty about their role in implementation among VCs (ES). Site-specific facilitators were training of volunteers (NO, SI, NL), involving volunteers in promoting the service (NO), and education and awareness for healthcare professionals about the role and boundaries of volunteers (UK). Conclusion: Establishing a comprehensive EoL care volunteer service for patients in non-specialist palliative care wards involves multiple considerations including training, creating awareness and ensuring management support. Implementation requires involvement of stakeholders in a way that enables medical EoL care and volunteering to co-exist. Further research is needed to explore how trust and equal partnerships between volunteers and professional staff can be built and sustained. Trial registration: NCT04678310. Registered 21/12/2020.

Original publication





BMC Palliative Care

Publication Date