Response Volunteer


Volunteers who do this role will engage with patients as part of a large multi-disciplinary team of nurses, doctors and therapists. Although their role will not be clinical, they will have a key part to play as it provides the hospital with an extra pair of hands, assisting with non-clinical tasks such as chatting to patients, distributing meals, making drinks and running errands for staff and patients.  They will be assigned as a responsive volunteer depending on where the need is and on your availability.

What tasks can they do?

Note: This list is not exhaustive and can be expanded or cut down, in response to the changing needs of your hospital in the face of COVID-19. As the needs increase we would encourage you to think innovatively and expand the tasks performed by volunteers.

    • Responding to requests for support
    • Calling in at different locations to lend a hand with non-clinical duties
    • Assisting in the collection and delivery of urgent blood samples
    • Collecting medical record files
    • Reminding & supporting hand gelling
    • Re-stocking gel dispensers, masks, PPEs around the site
    • Re-stocking support on wards
    • Befriending: spending time with patients who do not have many/any visitors. This could include playing games, reading or any other activity. Patients might also be elderly and like to reminisce – there are specific activities available on the ward for patients with dementia
    • Helping patients to call and face time/Skype their families and friends
    • Providing patients and visitors with tea, coffee and other refreshments and ensuring patient water jugs are full
    • Supporting patient’s during mealtime: helping to distribute food; sitting with patients to socialise and normalise eating and to encourage those who require it to try a little more food or fluid; sitting with patients who may need prompting to eat, such as those with dementia or those who need additional encouragement; ensuring that a patient can reach their food and fluids and utensils; assisting a patient by placing their food onto the fork or spoon for them to eat; assisting with cutting up of food or refilling of fluids
    • Patient feeding – only with training and supervision. Something that you may consider at a later stage, should COVID-19 demands grow
    • Tea/coffee trolley for staff
    • Displaying latest information posters around the site
    • Signposting patients & visitors
    • Escorting patients to appointments on foot or using wheelchairs
    • Escorting patients to and from wards for the Discharge Lounge
    • Escorting patients to and from wards for the Transport Lounge
    • Escorting patient porter transport to and from wards for Clinical Imaging
    • Escorting patients to different departments within the hospital for bloods tests, scans and x-rays as instructed by medical staff
    • Photocopying patient’s notes to assists patient transfer
    • Wheelchair collection
    • Supporting patients to Outpatients, assisting with way finding
    • Escorting patients to visit coffee shops inside the hospital
Boundaries (What volunteers won't do)
  • No clinical care of patients
  • No personal care (e.g. toileting or getting patients changed)
  • No lifting of heavy equipment
  • No feeding without training and supervision
Pre-placement checks
  • Volunteers must have an enhanced criminal record check (DBS) for this role. If they do not have one already then the Trust should organise for one.
  • This role requires that they have certain immunisations and they will need to complete a health declaration form.
Who are they?


Age: Volunteers must be 16 years or older to volunteer in this role
Accessibility: This role requires volunteers to be fit and healthy as it involves a lot of walking.
Health: Volunteers should be in a low risk health group. Vulnerable adults, those considered at an increased risk of severe illness or those caring for vulnerable adults are not suitable. (More information can be found here). COVID-19 exposure: Those who have symptoms of COVID-19, been exposed to those suffering from COVID-19 or recently returned from high risk countries (including Italy, Iran and China) are not suitable volunteers until after a 14 day isolation period.

As a volunteer they will embody the Trust’s values:

  • Putting patients first
  • Responsive to, and supportive of, patients and staff
  • Open, welcoming and honest
  • Unfailingly kind, treating everyone with respect, compassion and dignity
  • Determined to develop skills and continuously improve the quality of care

Skills and other requirements:

  • Have a good standard of oral English
  • Have excellent communications skills – talking and listening to patients and staff
  • Have an appreciation of confidentiality issues
  • Be self-motivated with an ability to think on their feet and work independently
  • Be punctual and dependable
  • Have a professional and friendly demeanour
  • Be flexible and eager to learn
  • Be resilient. Some patients might be distressed, and seeing patients with delirium or dementia can be distressing for some

What training should be considered?

To access training related to these roles please click here to join the National Learning Hub for Volunteers

Core volunteer training covered in induction may include:

  • Health and Safety
  • Infection control
  • Information Governance
  • Fire Safety
  • Manual and Handling

Depending on their tasks, specialist training may include:

  • Feeding
  • Dementia care training