The challenges of voluntary care provision for hospitalized patients with COVID-19: A qualitative study of the public volunteers’ experiences.

Publication date: Apr 01, 2024

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a remarkable increase in public volunteering for the care of hospitalized patients. They faced challenges during their voluntary care provision. This study aimed at exploring public volunteers’ experiences of the challenges of the voluntary care provision to hospitalized patients with COVID-19. A descriptive qualitative study with an inductive content analysis method was conducted, 2022-2023. Eighteen public volunteers providing care to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were purposefully selected among 10 hospitals, specialized in COVID-19 care in Tehran and Shiraz, Iran. Data were collected over 7 months through in-depth semistructured interviews and concurrently analyzed using conventional content analysis methods. The challenges of voluntary care provision to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 were illustrated in five main categories, each with two subcategories. The categories included structural challenges, interpersonal conflicts, financial constraints, covert participation and the deteriorating condition of care provision. The subcategories comprised lack of volunteer recruitment bases, ineffective organization of voluntary activities, pervasive distrust, heightened risk of clinical errors, conflicts between volunteer commitments and primary occupation, lack of financial support, lack of family support, isolation by friends, mental trauma and physical exhaustion. Public volunteers encounter diverse challenges while providing care to hospitalized patients with COVID-19, which negatively impacts their motivation to serve. By addressing these challenges, we can create a more supportive environment for volunteers and enhance the quality of care provided to patients during public health emergencies. Identifying such challenges can assist healthcare managers and policymakers develop effective strategies to mitigate mounting difficulties and enhance volunteer services, thereby improving the overall quality of care provided to patients during public health crises. Participants were identified and recruited after the study objectives were explained in person to the managers. The participants were approached and interviewed by one author. Participation was voluntary and the participants did not receive any financial compensation for their time.

Concepts Keywords
Hospitals challenges
Iran content analysis
Pandemic COVID-19
Volunteering public volunteers
qualitative research


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO LACK
disease VO ineffective
disease VO organization
disease IDO quality
disease MESH emergencies
disease VO effective
disease VO time

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