INNOVATION FUND Technology and AI in Healthcare Implementation and Integration SHOWCASE 2019

The Program for Leisure Engagement and Spontaneous Experiences

Implementation & Integration

Sid Feldman

416-785-2500 ext. 2118


Anna Berall

416-785-2500 ext. 2668

Sally Moy

Research Assistant
Kunin-Lunenfeld Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation (KL-CARE)
416-785-2500, ext. 6538


BMS-17-007 The Program for Leisure Engagement for Active and Spontaneous Experiences (PLEASE) provided training for volunteers to create meaningful experiences for residents in long-term care (LTC). This study demonstrated that it is feasible to train volunteers to positively impact activity engagement and quality of life for residents including social interest and improved mood. Volunteers utilized strategies to engage residents including storytelling, using the iPad, playing games, and discussing topics of importance to residents. In response to volunteer feedback, the training program was improved to include a mentorship program so new volunteers could be supported by experienced volunteers and an online curriculum was developed to standardize the training and increase access. The PLEASE volunteer training program has the potential to be scaled-up to other LTC homes through the development of online modules.


BMS-17-007 Background: The Program for Leisure Engagement for Active and Spontaneous Experiences (PLEASE) is an innovative, person-centered volunteer training program that engages long-term care residents in volunteer-facilitated leisure activities. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of training volunteers in-person and to assess the impact of volunteer-facilitated leisure activities on levels of activity engagement and quality of life for residents. Methodology: Volunteers were trained in-person and delivered leisure activities for residents in long-term care. Training included storytelling, responsive behaviours, communication, and eating assistance. Volunteers completed feedback surveys about their training and volunteer experiences. Observation rating sheets were completed before and during the volunteer-facilitated activities. Results: A total of 24 residents (mean age of 87, with two-thirds having moderate cognitive impairment) received an average of 25.1 visits in 12 weeks. There was a large positive change from before the visits to during the visits with social interest indicators increasing from 11.8% to 98.2%, active engagement indicators increasing from 7.5% to 97.5% and pleasure indicators increasing from 11.0% to 97.2%. Indicators of disengagement, negative affect, or sadness were observed during 6.0%, 7.5% and 11.3% of the visits, respectively. Of the 24 volunteers, 73.7% rated that the training helped build confidence in their volunteer role and 68.4% rated that the training helped prepare them for their volunteering. Conclusion: This project demonstrated that it was feasible to train a cohort of volunteers in facilitating leisure activities for residents in long-term care and to increase residents’ level of activity engagement and quality of life. Challenges/Next Steps: Not all the volunteers could attend the in-person training sessions, and in response, online training modules were developed. A mentorship program was also developed whereby experienced PLEASE volunteers would support new PLEASE volunteers.

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