A case study on volunteering in hospitals from the early 2010s until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic - based on the examples of volunteering in hospitals in Szeged, Debrecen, and Veszprém

Éva Szilvia Kósa - Csenge Mike - Anikó Szabó


In Hungary, hospital volunteers began to work in health care institutions and health-related nonprofit organisations in the early 2000s. Over the past twenty years, volunteering has been introduced to several health care institutions across the country, although little is known about the number and condition of such facilities in the absence of targeted studies and research. This case study presents the history, operation, activities, and volunteers of a hospital volunteer service in Szeged, Debrecen, and Veszprém. What the three services have in common is that their start and organisational background was linked to the Smiling Hospital Foundation until 2019, when the foundation terminated its operations. Then, from February 2020, when the COVID-19 epidemic broke out, they had to stop involving volunteers due to the lockdown of hospitals. This case study describes the operations of long-standing hospital volunteer services and provides a record of the consequences of specific crisis situations.

Keywords: volunteer work in health care institution, hospital volunteering, volunteer coordinator, crisis siruation, COVID-19 impact, Szeged, Debrecen, Veszprém,