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Table 4 Examples of support provided by volunteers

From: Volunteer navigation partnerships: Piloting a compassionate community approach to early palliative care

N-CARE = Connecting, Accessing, Resourcing and Engaging
Connecting: Those things volunteers did to enable older adults to feel connected to others.
• Psychosocial support for “disappointments” inherent in the advanced illness trajectory.
• Discussions about illness, coping, and overall life impact.
• Social conversations.
• Sharing of confidences difficult to discuss within family (e.g., discussions about death).
• Family and neighbour mediation functions (e.g., helping to understand and resolve conflict).
• Identification of friend and family connections and strategies on how to connect.
• Visits while in hospital or residential care.
• Strategies to reduce loneliness.
Accessing: Strategies that enabled clients to access the services and resources available.
• Assistance with reaching healthcare providers and making appointments.
• Practical strategies to speak to healthcare providers about most pressing needs (e.g., reminder strategies, identifying problems, practice  pronouncing physician names, notes to family to make physician appointments, how to bring up sensitive medical issues, how to understand physician’s behaviours and/or reluctance to act, use of advocates for appointments, advocacy to set up regular home physician visits, conversation plans).
• Strategies to communicate wishes (e.g., care plan on refrigerator).
• Mobility device options to support access.
• Lawyers with wheel chair access.
• Assistance with filling out forms (e.g., home owner grant).
• Strategies to voice healthcare related concerns (e.g., letter writing).
• Facilitating access to road tests prior to renewing drivers licence.
• Discussions about ‘best’ choices (e.g., cost) in accessing resources such as transportation and help at home.
• Flying options with airlines when accommodation required.
Resourcing: Identifying resources according to client need.
• Healthcare: physiotherapist, chiropractor, chronic illness self-help groups and services, alternative therapies, counseling.
• Home support services: Meals on Wheels, housekeeping, free yard work, home delivery of oxygen.
• Available living options in the community (e.g., assisted living, residential, rentals that accept pets).
• Resources to assist with making life changes (e.g., low cost advertising for selling possessions, moving arrangements, places to donate treasured possessions).
• Transportation and mobility (e.g., mobility aids, out of town travel assistance).
• Identification of the best person to answer healthcare related questions.
• Home safety/efficiency strategies (e.g., low cost kitchen appliance to replace broken one).
• Comfort adaptations (e.g., therapeutic beds).
• Personal safety strategies (e.g., replacing old shoes that could not be tied with supportive shoes with Velcro).
• Advance care planning resources (e.g., options for organ donation).
• Sources of special dietary needs.
• Seniors resources (e.g., ombudsman, office of senior’s advocate, senior’s centre, adult day program).
• Policy changes/services that affect seniors (e.g., information about changes to provincial health premiums for low income earners, palliative benefits).
Engaging: Strategies that assisted clients to engage more fully with life.
• Sounding board to assist clients with making decisions about their lives and transitions.
• Options for self-management in relation to their experiences (e.g., implementing an exercise program to alleviate pain, watching educational videos about dialysis, relaxation exercises for sleep, strategies to monitor cognition).
• Discussions about spiritual interests.
• Renewing older hobbies or interests (e.g., coloring leading to art classes).
• Seniors activity planning.
• Playing games.
• Advance care planning (e.g., funeral home visits).
• Grief strategies to increase engagement with others after loss.
• Design walking routes and an activity plan.
• Facilitation of plan for philanthropic work (e.g., helping refugees moving into the community).
• Strategies to keep pets.
• Strategies for preparing for stressful events (e.g., renewing driver’s license).
• Imagining options for living and thinking through quality of life issues.
• Options of how to modify hobbies so that they are achievable (e.g., camping, berry picking).
• Crafting an ‘emergency’ plan to deal with contingencies while caregiver is away.