We are off to the races!

Volunteer training sessions have kicked off last week across BC with full-day training sessions taking place in Kamloops, Victoria, Vancouver, Abbotsford, and Surrey. Over the last two weeks we have had nearly 100 enthusiastic volunteers attending a full-day training session that equips the volunteers with the skills to properly conduct a structured interview as well as tools and techniques necessary to effectively engage with our residents.

The in-person training session is a very full and comprehensive day. The focus of the day is on teaching and practicing what is called “the structured interview”. A “structured interview” is a standardized way of conducting an interview so that data can be collected in a reliable and valid way. Through the numerous mock interview exercises in the training, volunteers have the opportunity to practice what it will be like to approach and invite residents to participate and to conduct a structured interview. By working through a variety of scenarios, volunteers develop an understanding of the circumstances and situations that may arise throughout their time in our long-term care homes.

One of the first training sessions in Vancouver had a surprise guest, Isobel Mackenzie, who stopped by and spoke with the volunteers in the morning. Isobel described the objectives of the project – to empower seniors to share their voice in their care, and shared her appreciation of volunteers’ commitment to this work. UBC student, Calvin Lam, also spoke with volunteers and shared insights of what it is like to be a volunteer interviewer, including his own personal experience with the meaningful conversations he’s had with residents.

Volunteers have left the in-person training session feeling enthused about the project and excited about their volunteer commitment.

“I feel the session gave participants a good feel for ways in which we will positively impact the lives of those in long-term care facilities,” says Wally Donaldson, a volunteer in the Vancouver Coastal region.

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