What we do

 

Volunteer recruitment, training, supervision and referral

Beyond Words recruits volunteers from the community and trains and supervises them as volunteer biographers under the program. We link volunteer biographers with residents in the aged care home and together they undertake the process of biography.

The process

  1. We start by linking the client in aged care with a trained volunteer biographer
  2. We set up an initial session where the two meet, the program is explained and written consent is taken
  3. 6-8 private sessions (usually around 1 hour, once a week) where the volunteer biographer helps the client record their life story or personal tributes into an audio-recorder
  4. The audio recording is transcribed to draft text by the volunteer
  5. Editing of the drafts is at the direction of the client
  6. Scanning and insertion of any photos, mementos, artwork, poetry etc.
  7. Printing and binding of the biography once the final draft is approved by the client. One plastic bound hardcopy and an electronic copy are given to the client.

Evidence-based practice

Formal evaluations of the original biography service in palliative care has found the service to strengthen the quality of critical human relationships. This research has been presented at professional conferences: