Limb Loss Legal Panel
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Volunteer Visitors FAQs
Here you can find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our Volunteer Visitor Network.
Please select a question from below to view the answer or scroll down to read the whole FAQ sheet.
- Is every request dealt with?
- How many Volunteers does the Limbless Association currently have?
- Does this number ever vary?
- Where are Limbless Association Volunteers Visitors based?
- How many requests for a Volunteer does the Limbless Association receive?
- How many visits does each Volunteer perform?
- I have been a Volunteer for a long time and have never received a request.
- Why do you not have fewer Volunteers so that each could perform more visits?
- Do you have to be a Limbless Association member to request/receive a visit?
- Is there a charge for Volunteer Visits?
- How do I request a visit?
- Is there any follow-up after a visit?
- Will a Volunteer stay in contact with the person they visit?
- Are visits always face-to-face?
- Are your Volunteers professionally trained counsellors?
- How do I become a Volunteer?
- Will I receive any training or information to help me as a Volunteer?
- What is the future plan for the Volunteer Network?
Is every request dealt with?
Yes. However, if we cannot answer your query directly, we will signpost you to a professional who will be able to help ,(e.g. legal or medical advice) rather than an Limbless Association volunteer.
Does this number ever vary?
There are slight fluctuations over time, but we try to keep the total number of available volunteers fairly constant. Occasionally volunteers may “retire” due to their own health or personal reasons, or sometimes move abroad, but we assess the situation regularly and seek to recruit in shortfall areas.
How many visits does each Volunteer perform?
There is no specific number of visits, although the average is roughly one visit every two years. This varies greatly from one volunteer to another, for a number of reasons, and many volunteers will be asked to perform 3 or 4 visits a year, whilst some may not be required to perform any.
The main reason for this is that each request is matched as closely as possible to the most appropriate volunteer on the basis of amputation type, location, gender and age. We may not get any requests from a certain area or profile type for some time, so volunteers from that area will not be called upon. Also, some volunteers may have a profile type that results in fewer requests.
I have been a Volunteer for a long time and have never received a request.
Although this may regrettably be the case for some volunteers, it is still a great comfort and support to know that these volunteers are available if and when such a request is made. The most likely reason is that we simply have not received any requests for that geographical area or profile type, but we still appreciate and rely upon your involvement and support for the future. Another possibility is that we do not have full or correct contact details for you.
If you have not heard from us for some time, please contact the VV Supervisor on 01245 216671 to ensure that we have your full, current and correct contact details.
Why do you not have fewer Volunteers so that each could perform more visits?
All the feedback we receive from people who have been visited suggests that the most important aspect of a successful and useful visit is the similarity and relevance of the volunteer’s own experiences with that of the person being visited. Indeed, many of the Visitors themselves prefer to assist people who closely match their own profile type.
As many of our volunteers lead active and busy lives, they are not always available for visits. It is better for us to have more volunteers to ensure availability and a diverse cross-section of people to cover the needs of all the various enquiries that we receive.
How do I request a visit?
You can complete our online request form or you can contact the Helpdesk to arrange a visit. This should ideally be done by the person wishing to be visited. We can, and do, take requests from carers, healthcare professionals and relatives, but prior consent must be given from the person wishing to be visited stating that they are happy for us to contact them directly.
The VV Coordinator will then receive your form and search for the most suitable volunteer. We will contact the VV, ascertain whether they are available and pass on the full details of the request to them, asking them to call at the agreed time. We will normally then contact the person wishing to be visited again to notify them that we have located a suitable volunteer, passing on the details of who will be contacting them and when.
Is there any follow-up after a visit?
Yes, the VV Coordinator will always contact the person who was visited to receive feedback to ensure that they were satisfied with the visit and to ascertain whether there is any need for further action by the Limbless Association. We will also receive a report from the volunteer to get their view and feedback on how the visit went and whether the person needs any additional information, or if there were any questions the volunteer was unable to answer.
Will a Volunteer stay in contact with the person they visit?
This is completely at the discretion of the individual volunteer and the visited person. As we like to monitor the success and activity of the network, we prefer and recommend that any requests are made through the Limbless Association office, or at least reported back to us.
Are your Volunteers professionally trained counsellors?
No, they are all amputees with knowledge and experience of the day-to-day issues people face after amputation, but they do not have formal or professional training. Instead they pass on their own experiences of being an amputee on a peer-to-peer basis.
For this reason, volunteers are not allowed to provide advice on specific medical or legal issues, although they may be able to point you in the right direction, and they will not deal with requests from people who need professional medical, counselling or legal advice. These requests will be dealt with at the Limbless Association office and passed onto a relevant healthcare or legal professional.
How do I become a Volunteer?
To become a Volunteer Visitor, you must first be a full member of the Limbless Association and have a minimum of two years experience as an amputee. This experience requirement is because visiting can be demanding (both physically and emotionally) and visits can involve detailed discussions about your own experiences. Having your own knowledge and experiences to call on will be a benefit to the people you visit.
Once we have received and processed your Limbless Association membership, you can apply to be a Volunteer Visitor by completing a VV application form. You will be asked to provide two references, one of whom should be a healthcare professional at your limb centre, such as your Prosthetist or Consultant and the other of whom should be known to you professionally, such as an employer, GP or a member of your Rehab team.
To protect visited people, we also require you to undergo a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check. Once we have received 2 satisfactory references and your DBS clearance, we will be in touch with you to notify you of your appointment as a Volunteer and provide you with full details of the service and a Volunteer Visitors Welcome Pack.
Will I receive any training or information to help me as a Volunteer?
As our Volunteer Service is a ‘peer-to-peer’ scheme, you do not need any formal training. You will be sent a VV Welcome Pack that includes all of the details you need to carry out Volunteer Visits. This includes useful tips and advice, a list of regulations and the Code of Conduct and Ethics, a “Guidelines for Volunteer Visitors” and some Limbless Association promotional materials that you may distribute on your visits (if appropriate).
What is the future plan for the Volunteer Network?
The Network is already working very well, but we are constantly looking to improve it. We are always interested in suitable volunteers to increase our coverage, both geographically and across the different profile types, so we regularly analyse the network to see what is available and what we need to improve response times and effectiveness.
We will continue to recruit, and therefore no single volunteer will be required to perform too many visits (in fact many may wish to do more) but we are always happy to hear from members who would like to become volunteers.
We also hope to extend our reach to other healthcare organisations, charities, hospitals and relevant locations where our services may be needed, so we can increase awareness and therefore demand for this service. In this way, our VVs can bridge the gap between the hospitals where amputations occur and the DSCs.
Further plans are in place to introduce a Senior VV Network, or a senior-tier to the existing network. This would involve appointing one volunteer at each DSC to work more closely with the Limbless Association and the Centre staff, providing a more proactive, rapid, regular and rounded response to the centres’ needs. This may involve regular ward visits to see people who would like our help ,(prior to having requested it) attending emergency appointments where a patient at a limb centre or local hospital needs immediate support, and also acting as a representative for the Limbless Association to promote the charity and ensure all promotional materials are available and on-display at each Centre.