Volunteers Supporting Older People in Formal Care Settings in England: Personal and Local Factors Influencing Prevalence and Type of Participation

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In the UK context of financial austerity and the promotion of social responsibility through the concept of the “Big Society,” volunteers are becoming a more important part of the labour workforce. This is particularly so in the long-term care (LTC) sector, where both shortages of staff and demands for support are particularly high.

This article investigates the levels and profile of contribution of volunteers in the LTC sector using a large national data set, National Minimum Data Set for Social Care, linked to local area levels of rurality and socioeconomic status. The analysis shows that volunteer activity in formal care services varies between sectors and service types, with no strong relationship between local area deprivation, unemployment levels, and levels of volunteering. However, some significant association was found with the level of rurality. The contribution of volunteers is most evident in the provision of counselling, support, advocacy, and advice.

Hussein, S. and Manthorpe, J. (2012) Volunteers supporting older people in formal care settings in England: personal and local factors influencing prevalence and type of participation. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 33(8): 923-941.

Image credit: Joel Muniz – unsplash.com

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Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Professor Shereen Hussein is a Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the Department of Health Services Research and Policy (HSRP) at the LSHTM. She is a Co-Director of the PRUComm policy research unit. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent and King’s College London in the UK and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

Shereen is a demographer with expertise in labour-migration, sociology and economics. Her primary research revolves around ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care. Shereen has previously worked with the United Nations, the Population Council, the World Bank, and the League of Arab States. Her current research focuses on ageing demographics, long term care demand and migration within the UK and Europe and the implications on policy and practice.

Shereen has conducted extensive research on population ageing and impact on long term care and health policy and practices in the UK, internationally and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She has contributed to recent United Nations’ policy response to ageing in the region through collaboration with UN-ESCWA and directly providing expert consultations to several countries in the region including Turkey, Oman and Egypt. Shereen leads many large research projects on ageing and long-term care in the UK and contributes to a large project addressing responses to dementia in developing countries STRiDE. Shereen is the founder and lead of the MENARAH network.