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Book details
  • SubGenre:Volunteer Work
  • Language:English
  • Pages:240
  • eBook ISBN:9781733939409
  • Paperback ISBN:9781733939423

Creating the Volun-Cheer Force

Rethinking the Way We Use Volunteers in Long-Term Care

by Paul P. Falkowski PH.D.

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Dr. Falkowski believes it is time for you to discover the difference a robust volunteer program can make in your nursing home. Reading Creating a Volun-Cheer Force gives the evidence and inspiration to make this a reality in your long-term care community!  With 26 years of recruiting and training hundreds of volunteers, Dr. Paul Falkowski shares his experience, expertise, research, and examples for attracting what he calls "SUPER" volunteers– that is people who are highly committed, passionate, self-starters looking for meaningful ways to give back to their communities.

Dr. Falkowski understands the frustration you feel like thousands of nursing home CEO's and administrators who are searching for ways to attract new workers to the field of long-term care while trying to provide personalized, individualized care. In Creating a Volun-Cheer Force, Dr. Falkowski spells out how you can create a robust volunteer program and a conduit for attracting new workers while reversing the negative stereotypes associated with aging and long-term care. "Super" volunteers are highly committed and passionate individuals with training deliver "person-centered" care. They become recruiters for you as well. The end result is a well-integrated team of people providing great care. Everyone working in the field of long-term care will benefit from reading this book. Dr. Falkowski presents his own remarkable experiences working with "Super" volunteers, sharing their heartfelt stories revealing how deeply their lives are impacted and how their perceptions of the nursing home changed. In addition, he presents current examples of exemplary volunteer programs that are producing "Super" volunteers. They prove that it can be done and done well! 

About the author
Dr. Paul Falkowski is an advocate for expanding the role of volunteers in long-term care settings. Using state-of-the-art training techniques, Dr. Falkowski has trained and placed hundreds of volunteers in nursing homes. Now Falkowski makes the training accessible online worldwide. He has a passion for life and living and values owning our responsibility to others and having the courage to do the right thing. His vision for discovering volunteers as a work-ready resource enhances the quality of life for people living and working in nursing homes. He makes presentations at both national and regional conferences and has written numerous articles and produced podcasts for VolunCheerLeader.com. He earned his Doctorate in Gerontology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His dissertation, "Volunteer Programming Impact on Long-Term Care Facilities," is available online and has been downloaded over 6,000 times. He teaches online gerontology courses for the University of Nebraska, among several other schools.

Book Reviews

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An Excellent Practical Guide "Creating the Volun-Cheer Force" is an excellent practical guide to adapting core volunteer management practices - volunteer needs assessment, recruitment, interviewing, orientation, placement, training, recordkeeping, recognition - to the nursing home/long term care setting. But this book is so much more. It is a deeply thought-provoking call to action for communities to renew their social contracts and to create communities that care for one another at each stage of life. Placing a keen emphasis on community involvement through volunteerism, Dr. Falkowski eloquently yet practically demonstrates the power of older adults to create community. He demonstrates a keen understanding of the politics surrounding resistance to volunteerism by thoroughly debunking the five most common excuses for not pursuing a volunteer program. His book is full of useful, real-life illustrations about how well-trained, even credentialed, volunteers raise the bar when it comes to providing high-quality, person-centered care to nursing home residents. One of my favorite parts of the book is the discussion about five attributes of “super” volunteers: compassion, community, selflessness, presence, commitment. If there is one criticism of the book's content, it is how the reader may end up feeling frustrated with how providing truly patient-centered care by incorporating volunteerism as a tool can be so hard while working within the nursing home/long-term care regulatory and delivery system. Dr. Falkowski is not naive about these challenges and instead takes a "knowledge is power" approach by helping the reader through some of the legislative and regulatory history that got us to where are today. Using a volunteerism lens, he then devotes the book's final chapter to ways we can use "intentional and committed effort to increase community involvement in the lives of people living in nursing homes". I have been a professional in the field of healthcare volunteer engagement for over 45 years yet I read this book three times from cover to cover and will probably do so at least one more time. If you are a leader of volunteers in any sector (paid staff or volunteer) this book should be part of your library. If you are a community and/or healthcare organization leader, this book should be a part of your library. If you are a social worker or activities director, particularly in a healthcare setting, this book should be part of your library. And if you are a family member of a nursing home/long-term care resident, share this book with the nursing home administrator - perhaps even offer to start/strengthen a volunteer program at the facility. You can use another great feature of this book - an extensive reference list and index - to help you get started. - Joan Cardellino Read more