The personal value of being a palliative care Community Volunteer Worker in Uganda: A qualitative study

Barbara A Jack, Jennifer Kirton, J Birakurataki, A Merriman

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Volunteers in palliative care play a key role, particularly in the hospice setting. The expansion of palliative care into developing countries has been accompanied by the emergence of volunteer workers, who are providing a main source of support and care for patients, many of whom never see a health professional. Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the motivation for becoming a volunteer and the personal impact of being a palliative care Community Volunteer Worker in Uganda. Design: A qualitative methodology using semi-structured individual and group digitally recorded interviews was adopted for the study. Data were analysed for emerging themes using thematic analysis. Setting/Participants: Forty-three interviews were undertaken, 32 with Community Volunteer Workers and 11 with the Hospice clinical teams, using semi-structured digitally recorded individual, group and focus group interviews at the Hospice Africa sites in Uganda. Results: The results identified the cultural wish to help people as a key motivator in becoming a volunteer. Additionally, the volunteers reported having a sense of pride in their volunteering role, and this role had a positive impact on their perceived status in their local community. Conclusion: This model of volunteering is clearly having an impact on the volunteers, both personally and also in terms of how they are treated in their communities. Further research to explore the long-term personal benefits of being a palliative care volunteer is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-759
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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