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Article

A Qualitative Study on the Position and Role of Volunteers in Integrated Care—An Example of Palliative Care in Croatia

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Department of Social Medicine and Organization of Health Care, Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Rockefeller St. No. 4, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Department of Integrated and Palliative Care, Rijeka University Hospital Center, Krešimirova St. No. 42, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia
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Firefly Association, Prilaz Gjure Deželića No. 50, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Department of Medical Statistics, Epidemiology and Medical Informatics, Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Rockefeller St. No. 4, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Thilo Kroll and Kate Frazer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 8203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138203
Received: 22 May 2022 / Revised: 20 June 2022 / Accepted: 3 July 2022 / Published: 5 July 2022
Volunteers have been present in palliative care since its inception. With the development of palliative care systems, their role and position are changing. Given growing long-term care needs and limited resources in health and social care, volunteers are becoming an important resource in meeting these needs. In Croatia, palliative care has been developing as an integrated care model since 2014. To assess the position and the role of volunteers, we analyzed legislative documents from healthcare and social care and conducted a focus group with volunteers in palliative care. We found that volunteers provide support from the social aspect of care, for the patient and the family. The formal palliative care system involves them as partners in the provision of care, even though this cooperation is informal. The main determinants of their activities are an individualized approach, flexibility, a community presence, and project funding. In conclusion, these determinants allow them to react quickly to identified needs, but with them come some uncertainties of their sustainability. Their activities could indicate what needs to be integrated between health and social care and in what areas. Volunteers both fill in gaps in the system and are ahead of the system, and by doing this they develop new processes around identified unmet needs. View Full-Text
Keywords: volunteers; integrated care; palliative care volunteers; integrated care; palliative care
MDPI and ACS Style

Vočanec, D.; Lončarek, K.; Banadinović, M.; Sović, S.; Džakula, A. A Qualitative Study on the Position and Role of Volunteers in Integrated Care—An Example of Palliative Care in Croatia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 8203. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138203

AMA Style

Vočanec D, Lončarek K, Banadinović M, Sović S, Džakula A. A Qualitative Study on the Position and Role of Volunteers in Integrated Care—An Example of Palliative Care in Croatia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(13):8203. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138203

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vočanec, Dorja, Karmen Lončarek, Maja Banadinović, Slavica Sović, and Aleksandar Džakula. 2022. "A Qualitative Study on the Position and Role of Volunteers in Integrated Care—An Example of Palliative Care in Croatia" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 13: 8203. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138203

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