Key actions on caring for volunteers in COVID-19 is a quick reference tool for National Societies in providing effective care and support to volunteers during the different phases of a COVID-19 response.
Volunteers are impacted by COVID-19 like everyone else worldwide. They worry about being stigmatized by family and community members and may be afraid of contracting the virus. Like lots of other people, they are very concerned about having to be in isolation or quarantine and dread losing colleagues and friends, as well as their family members. Volunteers may well be affected by witnessing the death of someone they supported and could find at a certain point that they are exhausted by having challenging tasks.
National Societies must establish a robust volunteer care system in place to ensure the safety and psychosocial well-being of their volunteers. This means that National Societies are able to care for and support volunteers involved in a COVID-19 response effectively. If not adequately supported, volunteers may experience stress responses that could have a long-term negative impact on their psychological well-being. Their level of coping will depend on their personal resources and resilience, as well as on the supports available at home, in the community and from the National Society. Unfortunately, however, if not supported, it is likely that volunteers will become disillusioned and perform less well and then teams will experience high turnover.