'Being with' or 'doing for'? : How the role of an end-of-life volunteer befriender can impact patient wellbeing: interviews from a multiple qualitative case study (ELSA)

Dodd, Steven Robert and Hill, Matthew and Ockenden, N and Perez Algorta, Guillermo Daniel and Payne, Sheila Alison and Preston, Nancy Jean and Walshe, Catherine Elizabeth (2018) 'Being with' or 'doing for'? : How the role of an end-of-life volunteer befriender can impact patient wellbeing: interviews from a multiple qualitative case study (ELSA). Supportive Care in Cancer, 26 (9). pp. 3163-3172. ISSN 0941-4355

[thumbnail of ELSA_qualitative_impact_paper_SCC_REVISED_COMPLETE]
PDF (ELSA_qualitative_impact_paper_SCC_REVISED_COMPLETE)
ELSA_qualitative_impact_paper_SCC_REVISED_COMPLETE.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (736kB)


Purpose To explore the perspectives of people anticipated to be in their last year of life, family carers, volunteers and staff on the impacts of receiving a volunteer-provided befriending service. Patient participants received up to 12 weeks of a volunteer-provided befriending intervention. Typically, this involved one visit per week from a trained volunteer. Such services complement usual care and are hoped to enhance quality of life. Methods Multiple case study design (n = 8). Cases were end-of-life befriending services in home and community settings including UK-based hospices (n = 6), an acute hospital (n = 1) and a charity providing support to those with substance abuse issues (n = 1). Data collection incorporated qualitative thematic interviews, observation and documentary analysis. Framework analysis facilitated within and across case pattern matching. Results Eighty-four people participated across eight sites (cases), including patients (n = 23), carers (n = 3), volunteers (n = 24) and staff (n = 34). Interview data are reported here. Two main forms of input were described—‘being there’ and ‘doing for’. ‘Being there’ encapsulated the importance of companionship and the relational dynamic between volunteer and patient. ‘Doing for’ described the process of meeting social needs such as being able to leave the house with the volunteer. These had impacts on wellbeing with people describing feeling less lonely, isolated, depressed and/or anxious. Conclusion Impacts from volunteer befriending or neighbour services may be achieved through volunteers taking a more practical/goal-based orientation to their role and/or taking a more relational and emotional orientation. Training of volunteers must equip them to be aware of these differing elements of the role and sensitive to when they may create most impact.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Supportive Care in Cancer
Additional Information:
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-018-4169-2
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? palliative carevolunteersqualitative researchend of lifeoncology ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
13 Mar 2018 09:04
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 17:38