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The Back to Health volunteering model

The Back to Health volunteering model uses volunteering as a catalyst for closer integration of health and care systems between George Eliot Hospital and the local community. It proposes using volunteer intervention at five stages across the patient pathway to improve health and wellbeing, demonstrating the impact that well designed, impactful volunteering roles have on “Getting Well”, “Recovering Well”, “Living Well”, and “Waiting Well” in North Arden and Nuneaton Central & South.


Why change was needed 

The Back to Health volunteering pathway has been developed in response to the elective recovery needs of GEH and Warwickshire North Place, and builds on existing volunteering infrastructure.

The creation of Integrated Care Systems and Place Based Partnerships presents an opportunity and imperative for GEH to establish its role as an Anchor Organisation in the local community. Doing so will help address current demand challenges and local health inequalities in the population.

This model will create a closer connection between volunteering activities in GEH and volunteering opportunities we can establish in local communities.


What we did

The Back to Health model uses volunteer intervention at five stages of the patient pathway to support their health and wellbeing:

  1. Comfort calls – Initial call to patients waiting for appointments or procedures, checking the appointment is still required and if they need further waiting well support, as well as identifying any deteriorating or vulnerable patients for escalation.
  2. Waiting well – Helping patients in the community prepare for their treatment via three tiers: telephone support, community assistance or intensive community support.
  3. Accessibility responders – Helping patients access their appointments, e.g. via telephone or video, including in the community.
  4. Discharge responders – Hospital volunteers helping to prepare patients for discharge, e.g. by collecting TTOs from pharmacy, signposting patients to community services and identifying patients at risk of readmission.
  5. Help at home – Comfort call to patients within 72 hours of discharge to check they have what they need, signpost to support and escalate any problems.


What's next?

  • Continue to encourage referrals from Primary Care Networks to GEH volunteer contact centre, whilst exploring extending referral pathways into GEH to other community partners. 
  • Expand promotion of the model and increase volunteer workforce.
  • Recruit Community Engagement Officers via secured funding.
  • Confirm next phase of resourcing and activity beyond original business case scope.
  • Develop evaluation and lessons learned.