Communities as ‘renewable energy’ for health care services? A multi-methods study into the form, scale, and role of voluntary support for community hospitals in England

Paine, AE, Kamerade-Hanta, D ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2019-3391, Mohan, J and Davidson, D 2019, 'Communities as ‘renewable energy’ for health care services? A multi-methods study into the form, scale, and role of voluntary support for community hospitals in England' , BMJ Open, 9 (10) .

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Abstract

Objective To examine the forms, scale and role of community and voluntary support for community hospitals in England. Design A multi-methods study. Quantitative analysis of Charity Commission data on levels of volunteering and voluntary income for charities supporting community hospitals. Nine qualitative case studies of community hospitals and their surrounding communities, including interviews and focus groups. Setting Community hospitals in England and their surrounding communities. Participants Charity Commission data for 245 community hospital Leagues of Friends. Interviews with staff (89), patients (60), carers (28), volunteers (35), community representatives (20), managers and commissioners (9). Focus groups with multi-disciplinary teams (8 groups across nine sites, involving 43 respondents), volunteers (6 groups, 33 respondents) and community stakeholders (8 groups, 54 respondents). Results Communities support community hospitals through: human resources (average = 24 volunteers a year per hospital); financial resources (median voluntary income = £15,632); practical resources through services and activities provided by voluntary and community groups; and intellectual resources (e.g. consultation and coproduction). Communities provide valuable supplementary resources to the NHS, enhancing community hospital services, patient experience, staff morale and volunteer well-being. Such resources, however, vary in level and form from hospital to hospital and over time: voluntary income is on the decline, as is membership of League of Friends, and it can be hard to recruit regular, active volunteers. Conclusions Communities can be a significant resource for health care services, in ways which can enhance patient experience and service quality. Harnessing that resource, however, is not straight forward and there is a perception that it might be becoming more difficult questioning the extent to which it can be considered sustainable or ‘renewable’.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: BMJ Open
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 2044-6055
Related URLs:
Funders: National Institute for Health Research
Depositing User: Dr D Kamerāde
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 08:40
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 08:00
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/52043

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