Team-Based Volunteerism with the Seriously Ill: A Qualitative Analysis from 10 Volunteers' Perspectives

Academic Article


  • Volunteers offer means through which social workers may extend their ability to support individuals with serious illnesses near the end of life. This study explored the experience of volunteers on teams organized initially as a grassroots movement in response to stigmatized and often socially isolated people with HIV/AIDS dying in the community. Volunteer care teams later expanded to individuals with other serious illnesses. This model spread as a means of meeting the growing need for practical support for seriously ill homebound individuals. Yet, little has been reported in the scientific literature about the interworkings of these teams and their optimal level of functioning. Qualitative inquiry, in the form of semi-structured interviews, explored perspectives of 10 volunteers with experience in volunteer team caring and identified the social processes that shaped their work. The volunteers discussed balance between positive life meaning gained from volunteer work, lessons learned, and negative aspects of a volunteer team approach to caring for the seriously ill in the community. Further investigation is warranted to validate the volunteer care team approach as a cost-effective tool to help seriously ill individuals and caregivers. © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Azuero CB; Harris GM; Allen RS; Williams BR; Kvale E; Ritchie CS
  • Start Page

  • 282
  • End Page

  • 295
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 3