Aug 27, 2012
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Just got offered this volunteer position in a government run care home. Don't know what to think of it and whether it is worth accepting. I've heard of the "if you're close enough to smell" rule but I am unsure if this position would fall under that. Any insight would be much appreciated!
 

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May 4, 2015
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If this is a care home where healthcare professionals visit constantly you have a bingo (pun intended :)). I think this is a great experience not only because you deal with older patients but you tend to see what long-term care can be like. A lot of the people there might be because they have suffered some accident that now requires them to be under supervision. It teaches you about how you approach these folks who are away from family; some whose family only visits on certain holidays and others that visit practically everyday and you become responsible for keeping them entertained so they don't think that the place they are at is just a hospital/facility. If you are in some standard facility, you might witness that some patients despite having certain diseases (like of forgetfulness) are still kept with unlike older folks who are completely fine. It is an eye-opening experience and something you might not be able to help but definitely worth witnessing and perhaps understanding at base level.
 
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Aug 26, 2015
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I absolutely hate that type of volunteering. I'd say that, yes, it counts as clinical volunteering, but in reality, you are just chatting with people. Personally, I would look into the major hospitals around you. The larger ones tend to have well established volunteer programs.
 
May 4, 2015
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I absolutely hate that type of volunteering. I'd say that, yes, it counts as clinical volunteering, but in reality, you are just chatting with people. Personally, I would look into the major hospitals around you. The larger ones tend to have well established volunteer programs.
It's not everyone's cup of tea but it is useful to do as a volunteering activity. You learn excellent bedside manner as you try rounding out the folks since most of them don't want to get out of their room on most days (either due to depression or boredom).
 
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Aug 27, 2012
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I absolutely hate that type of volunteering. I'd say that, yes, it counts as clinical volunteering, but in reality, you are just chatting with people. Personally, I would look into the major hospitals around you. The larger ones tend to have well established volunteer programs.
The hospitals in my entire area do not have any good volunteer programs. The only thing they allow you to do is be a host of a specific room (ie. medial imaging) where in reality you're just asking people if they want drinks.

Thanks for the input everyone it looks like I'll make the best of it and take this position!
 
Aug 26, 2015
68
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Pre-Medical
The hospitals in my entire area do not have any good volunteer programs. The only thing they allow you to do is be a host of a specific room (ie. medial imaging) where in reality you're just asking people if they want drinks.

Thanks for the input everyone it looks like I'll make the best of it and take this position!

Let us know how it turns out.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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If you are close enough to smell patients it is a clinical experience but the description you posted does not use the word patients but requires the volunteer to be patient (not the same thing, obviously).

While this will help you become more comfortable dealing with elderly people, some of whom will have physical disabilities, psychiatric or neurological disorders affecting mood and/or memory, or be frail, they are living in a facility where they can be looked after in terms of housekeeping, meals, socialization with others, supervision of their medications and so forth. This isn't clinical any more than babysitting or substitute teaching is a clinical activity related to pediatrics. Sure, maybe it makes you more familiar with kids but the kids are patients.

This is a good volunteer experience but you should have some shadowing and some other paid or volunteer experience in a setting where you regularly see physicians or other health care providers at work.
 
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If you are close enough to smell patients it is a clinical experience but the description y ou posted does not use the word patients but requires the volunteer to be patient (not the same thing, obviously).

While this will help you become more comfortable dealing with elderly people, some of whom will have physical disabilities, psychiatric or neurological disorders affecting mood and/or memory, or be frail, they are living in a facility where they can be looked after in terms of housekeeping, meals, socialization with others, supervision of their medications and so forth. This isn't clinical any more than babysitting or substitute teaching is a clinical activity related to pediatrics. Sure, maybe it makes you more familiar with kids but the kids are patients.

This is a good volunteer experience but you should have some shadowing and some other paid or volunteer experience in a setting where you regularly see physicians or other health care providers at work.
Thank you I appreciate the response and I completely understand your point. It's just very tough to find relevant clinical experience in the area I live in, but I know that is not an excuse and will have to look harder to find an alternative.

Out of curiosity, I volunteered the past 6 months in this same care home but instead worked directly with a physiotherapist aide who would help elderly residents whose mobility was severely impaired walk small distances. I would do that walking program for 1 hour, followed by a group 1 hour exercise class for the residents led by the same physiotherapist aide (where I again interact with residents and encourage participation). Do you think that this would count as relevant clinical experience since I am working with said health care provider, or did I just completely waste my time? Thank you.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
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Mar 7, 2005
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Thank you I appreciate the response and I completely understand your point. It's just very tough to find relevant clinical experience in the area I live in, but I know that is not an excuse and will have to look harder to find an alternative.

Out of curiosity, I volunteered the past 6 months in this same care home but instead worked directly with a physiotherapist aide who would help elderly residents whose mobility was severely impaired walk small distances. I would do that walking program for 1 hour, followed by a group 1 hour exercise class for the residents led by the same physiotherapist aide (where I again interact with residents and encourage participation). Do you think that this would count as relevant clinical experience since I am working with said health care provider, or did I just completely waste my time? Thank you.
That is better than an old folks home sing-along because it involved a clinical service (physiotherapy). Just as an aside, where do people go in your community if they suspect they have an STI (sexually transmitted infection)? Where do kids go for their routine physicals and vaccines? Service providers of that kind might welcome a volunteer like yourself. Does this care home ever have patients transition into hospice care while living in the home? Volunteering at those bedsides might be a useful experience.
 
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