Volunteer delivered interventions for older people living in care homes: a mixed methods systematic review and stakeholder consultation -AMM03

Short Summary

Older people living in care homes should be considered part of the wider local community however, little is known about what enables them to connect with people not paid to look after them or family members.

Volunteering can complement paid and familial support.  

This study reviewed the evidence to inform work in partnership with Peterborough care homes to develop schemes that support volunteering and intergenerational work.


This project was initiated by a family carer who had had variable success in working with charities that organise volunteers to visit older people including those in care homes

Volunteers provide companionship and activities for residents in care homes alongside support from care home staff and family visitors

Volunteering in care homes can comprise of one-to-one or group activities that engage residents in an active or passive way

There are challenges for implementing volunteering activities in care homes.  For example, as contained communities where access is often mediated through staff and families, and where organisational context is likely to impact on the success or otherwise of an intervention

We conducted a systematic review and stakeholder consultation that aimed to identify volunteer activities in care homes and evidence for their effectiveness and sustainability.

Project aims

We aimed to synthesise the evidence on volunteering for older people living in care homes to identify how volunteering in care homes is used and conceptualised, evidence on the effectiveness of volunteering in care homes, and what is needed to sustain volunteering interventions in care homes.

Project activity 

Systematic review

The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (number CRD42019142701)

Stakeholders with experience of volunteering in care homes. This included care home staff (n=3), volunteers (n=6), and family members of people in care homes (n=1)

The potential or actual impact 

Review paper currently under review.

Findings to inform post-pandemic work on volunteering in care homes.

Papers/resources associated with this study

Under review

Next step

Post pandemic work testing different models of supporting volunteering in care homes

Researchers and Institutions 

Claire Goodman

Frances Bunn


Mel Handley