Volunteers are a large component of the workforce in both skilled nursing and assisted living homes. Companies know the value volunteers provide and make opportunities for service widely available. Marketing material for senior care providers usually devote part of their efforts to attracting volunteers and getting them to commit via a link on their webpage, contact information, or a benefits page.
The price of volunteer work varies but this website allows the user to estimate based on job category/description and hours of service. For a typical senior community, a volunteer who assists a resident with eating, would be classified as either an Healthcare Support Worker with wages/benefits of $16.12 per hour or as an Home Health Aide with wages/benefits of $11.24 per hour. Volunteer Receptionists provide $13.48 per hour in service, Recreation workers – $11.98, Religious workers – $15.20, Musicians and singers – $24.26.
A concern for anyone monitoring volunteers is the high turnover rate. This study from 2009 shows that more than 33% of those who served as volunteers in 2006 did not return in 2007. The reasons:
- Not matching Volunteer’s Skills w Assignments
- Failing to Recognize Volunteer’s Contributions
- Failing to Train and Invest in Volunteers and Staff
- Failing to Provide Strong Leadership
An assisted living or nursing home that is able to should hire a volunteer coordinator. A full-time employee would be able to best maximize the contributions and efforts of the non-paid staff, generating significant cost savings and community goodwill. Smaller companies that are unable to afford a volunteer coordinator should adopt a best practice program for showing appreciation to volunteers and make the process of giving time as enjoyable as possible.