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Dilemmas in the use of volunteers to provide hospice bereavement support: Evidence from New Zealand.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>24/06/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Mortality
Issue number2
Volume7
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)139-154
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper seeks to explore the tension between professionalization and volunteerism in health care. It focuses on the role of volunteers who provide bereavement support services within hospices and palliative care services. The paper draws on evidence from a study of hospice bereavement volunteers conducted in New Zealand. Interviews with 34 co-ordinators, and questionnaires completed by 121 volunteers, from 26 hospices, provided data about the role played by bereavement support volunteers. Differences in the perspectives of co-ordinators and volunteers highlight the tensions between a professionalizing ethos and lay understandings of bereavement. Broader social factors, including the restricted social diversity among volunteers, the perceived value of the lived experience of loss relative to other sources of knowledge, cultural patterns of grief and mourning and asymmetrical power relationships between paid professionals and volunteers, affect how bereavement support services are planned and implemented. This paper proposes that a better conceptual understanding of the role of volunteers in helping others deal with loss and grief is needed.

Bibliographic note

This paper resulted from a Winston Churchill Fellowship. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Social Work and Social Policy & Administration