The Grandpal Handbook

Your Grandpal Handbook

Introduction to Grandpal

Welcome to our organisation. As a Grandpal, you make a unique and important contribution to the team and your local community. This handbook outlines what you can expect from us as a company and, in turn, our expectations of you as a Grandpal.

Ethos and Mission

Grandpal’s passion for providing loving care is reflected in our core values today:

  • Human Dignity - To acknowledge and respect the unique worth of every individual
  • Treating Everyone with Respect - To always be kind to and mindful of each Grandpal Community member
  • Delivering Inspiration - To provide a source of hope to the people around us
  • Dedication to Others - To work tirelessly in order to help and support others
  • Our Community as the Source of our Strength - To feel empowered by the generosity and giving nature of our community 

The History of Grandpal

Grandpal, founded by Brian Daly and William Hollacsek in 2018, is a person-centred care company and platform that connects people who would like to give an hour or so of their time each week to visiting someone in a local nursing home. 

Brian lived with his grandmother for many years while studying and working in Dublin and always thought it would be lovely to have a service like Grandpal to keep his grandmother company through those long days when no one else was able to visit.

Services Provided

Grandpal is all about companionship. 

Grandpal is a service that matches locals who have a heart for giving with a local older person who would benefit from having the additional one on one time.

Through Grandpal, local people spend time visiting with elderly individuals in local nursing homes. 

Since the start of Grandpal in 2018, we have been dedicated to creating a supportive, caring and strong community of Grandpals, and using the power of local community to provide companionship that’s personalised, straightforward and most importantly, effective.

By providing this service, Grandpal strives to combat the loneliness and isolation so often faced by the community’s elderly or residents of nursing homes. In short, we provide an effortless solution to a universal problem.

A Grandpal’s Role

What a Grandpal Does

Each Grandpal is thoughtfully matched with an elderly member of the community based on their personality, character, and interests. Once they are matched up, each Grandpal regularly visits their Pal and spend quality time with them at their nursing home. Some people may decide to go for a walk around the garden together, listen to music or just sit and chat, but the goal is for each visit from a Grandpal to feel like a visit from an old friend.

Whatever a Grandpal and their Pal choose to do during their visit is entirely up to them. This can depend on how they feel that particular day and what pastimes they typically enjoy doing. Some examples of popular activities during Grandpal visits include:

  • A chat over a cup of tea
  • Board games
  • Short walks
  • Reading
  • Family video calls
  • Guitar and singing
  • Art and crafts
  • Group exercises
  • Other group activities

Naturally, an ability to be patient, kind, understanding and respectful are all qualities we search for in our Grandpals.

What to Avoid as a Grandpal

While Grandpal provides an invaluable service, it is important to understand that Grandpals are not medical professionals and that pals do not have the same set of skills or responsibilities as the nursing home staff. Grandpals are not there to provide medical care, just to provide companionship.  

A Grandpal’s Perspective

By becoming a Grandpal, you are making a difference. Grandpals are people who have chosen to do something meaningful and worthwhile with their spare time. 

The following are quotes from some of our Grandpals:

“When I leave the nursing home, I feel full of joy”

“It’s somewhere you can go to connect with other people”

“I became a Grandpal to combat loneliness in nursing homes”

“I became a pal because I knew I had something to give” 

“Being there for someone is so satisfying and so heartwarming” 

Recruitment Process

How to Get Involved

Taking the first step in becoming a Grandpal is easy. Simply go to our website and select the Get Started button. Sign up and from there, a member of our team will explain how Grandpal works and detail your next steps. If you have any other questions, more contact information can be found in the “Contact” section of this handbook.

Application Process

The safety and standard of our Grandpal Community is, and will always be, our fundamental priority. Our recruitment process is detailed and secure so that we can find Grandpals who are promising candidates to become trusted friends. 

  1. A Grandpal team member speaks to each and every person who is interested in becoming a Grandpal. This gives our team the opportunity to explain how Grandpal works and also get to know every Grandpal candidate. 
  2. All going well, a meeting is scheduled between a Family Member and/or a Grandpal partnered nursing home, and the Grandpal candidate. This allows the Family Member to meet the candidate in person and/or allows the nursing home staff to meet the candidate and match them with a suitable resident. Each Grandpal candidate must be fully Garda Vetted. We’ll work with you to fill out a NBV-1 Vetting Form. By vetting all of our Grandpals we can formally assure all Grandpal members that their loved ones are in good company. 

Once all of that has gone smoothly, you’ll set up your first visit. Grandpals can book visits through the app. When you arrive at the nursing home the staff will brief you with what you need to know regarding your Pal’s specific needs and information about the nursing home itself.


Training via the Grandpal App

In order to ensure that all of our Grandpals have the skills necessary to provide care and companionship in a nursing home setting, and one way we achieve this is by having each prospective Pal go through several training modules using our App. 

These training modules familiarize the Pal with the relevant issues that may arise in a nursing home, from safeguarding vulnerable adults from elderly abuse to communicating effectively with people suffering from dementia. 

These training modules are an important step in our recruitment process, and more information about this will be provided once the Pal reaches this stage of their onboarding. 

Dress Code

As a Grandpal, you are visiting your Pal to convey a sense of warmth and hospitality while visiting, so we ask you to dress in a comfortable yet professional manner. Although this certainly does not apply to every Pal, people who are ill can find strong perfumes, deodorants and other scented cosmetics nauseating, so please be mindful of this when preparing for your visit. 

Gifts and Donations

Occasionally, thanks to the kindness you have shown to your Pal or a resident at the nursing home, someone may offer you a gift in return. Please be aware that Grandpals are not permitted to accept any gifts other than small items such as chocolates or biscuits that can be shared with everyone. 

Please politely refuse any other gifts offered, e.g. lunches, beverages, cash, money for petrol, entry fees on outings and particularly items of value such as jewellery. 

Code of Conduct

At Grandpal, we aim to bring people together and help them spend quality time in an open and welcoming environment. No one should feel excluded, intimidated or unsafe during a Grandpal visit.

In order to make the Grandpal experience run as smoothly as possible for everyone involved, we have certain expectations and guidelines when it comes to visiting the nursing homes. All Grandpals are required to comply with the following code of conduct, and we expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody. 

This code of conduct can be found at the end of the handbook along with the Grandpal Volunteer Agreement. 

Visits With Grandpal

Where to Go

Grandpal visits take place exclusively on the grounds of their nursing home with the resident they have been paired with. Nursing Home facilities are safe places where the resident is familiar. Should they feel tired, unwell, or if they wish to end the visit prematurely, a member of the nursing home staff will always be close by to lend a hand.  

Grandpal visits can take place in the social room, the resident's bedroom, or even in the nursing home garden if the resident would like to go for a short walk. 

Each Grandpal visit should feel like a visit from an old friend. Whilst we encourage our Grandpals to visit their resident once a week, there is no duration of time set for each visit nor do visits have to take place on the same day every week. It is entirely up to the discretion of each Grandpal and their new friend. 

What to Do

Whatever a Grandpal and their Pal choose to do during their visit is entirely up to them-- how they feel that particular day or what pastimes they typically enjoy doing. Some examples of popular activities during Grandpal visits include:

  • A chat over a cup of tea
  • Board games
  • Short walks
  • Reading
  • Family video calls
  • Guitar and singing
  • Art and crafts
  • Group exercises
  • Other group activities

The Grandpal App

Why the Grandpal App is important for everyone

We ask all Grandpals to schedule their visits through our App and to log information about the visit in the App when it is over. Recording visits on your Grandpal App is helpful and important for a number of reasons: 

Firstly, it is important for the nursing home. When you use the app to schedule your Grandpal visit, it allows the nursing home to know exactly when they can expect you. This process also helps your Grandpal visit to become part of your Pal’s routine over time, and precludes the possibility of any disappointments or unwanted surprises.

This is additionally important for us here at Grandpal. Scheduling and logging visits helps us keep track of your Grandpal journey and the growth of our Grandpal community as a whole. It helps us keep track of group milestones, which are cause for celebration a  notable benchmark in our company’s expansion.  

It is also  important for you, our Grandpals. In today’s hectic world, it can be easy to lose track of time and for the weeks to fly without realising. By scheduling and logging visits in the Grandpal App, you can make it easier for yourself to remember when you should visit your Pal next, and also helps you to  recall how your last visit went. For this reason, we also recommend scheduling visits for roughly  the same time every week. Scheduling a new visit just after you’ve logged the last one can help you remember to schedule.

Scheduling Visits

  1. Go to your Grandpal App and click on the VISITS tab. 
  2. This will bring you to a new page. Click on the SCHEDULE A VISIT button.
  3. Next, choose who you/where you will be visiting. Click the button for the Pal that you are planning to visit. 
  4. Choose a suitable date and time to visit and when you are finished, click the SAVE button. 

Your visit is now scheduled. The Grandpal App Homepage will always remind you when your next scheduled visit is. 

Logging Visits

  1. Go to your Grandpal App and click on the VISITS tab. 
  2. Next, click on the LOG MY VISIT button. 
  3. You will then be brought to a page with a series of questions about your visit. 

These questions should take less than a minute to answer, but they are important for our records.

Rescheduling Visits

  1. Go to your Grandpal App and click on the VISITS tab. 
  2. Next, click on the RESCHEDULE VISIT button. 
  3. You will then be asked who you want to reschedule your visit with. Options will display based on who you’ve already scheduled a visit with.
  4. Choose a suitable date and time to visit you want to reschedule for. 
  5. When you are finished, click the SAVE button

Boundaries and Confidentiality

Please observe confidentiality by not sharing sensitive, private information about  your Pal, family members, Nursing Home residents, staff, visitors, or other Grandpals, unless to report a valid safeguarding concern. Do not access confidential information that is not essential to you carrying out your role as a Grandpal. If you are concerned about matters regarding confidentiality, speak to a member of the nursing home staff.

In the course of recruiting new Grandpals and keeping records of current Grandpals, we respect your privacy and will not share your contact details or other personal information without your consent, unless obliged to by law. 

The personal warmth you share with Pals creates a very special and welcoming atmosphere. However, it is important that as a Grandpal, you refrain from crossing personal boundaries. This is for the protection of Grandpals as well as for Pals. 

For example:

  •  Never give your mobile phone number to a Pal or encourage them to contact you outside of your visits at the nursing home. If there are concerns needing to be addressed, please let a member of staff know.
  •  Do not handle any money belonging to a Pal or agree to buy items they may need – a family member or Nursing Home staff can organise this.
  •  Do not offer any physical contact other  than hand-holding where required and recognise that everyone has different levels of comfort with physical interaction.
  •  Do not fulfil another role in a Pal’s life outside your Grandpal position, e.g. visiting their home, shopping for them, taking care of a property, mediating in family matters or advising on their medical condition
  • If you find that, due to unforeseen factors, a potentially harmful situation has arisen, please immediately notify the Person in Charge at the nursing home who will advise the next best steps. 

In keeping with these guidelines, each Grandpal must agree to and sign the Grandpal Volunteer Agreement as well as the Grandpal Code of Conduct.

Commitment and Absences

As you begin visiting with the Pal you are paired with, you may choose to arrange a consistent day and time on which you typically come in each week. This is encouraged for ease of scheduling and in order to establish a routine, but in any case visits are scheduled through the Grandpal App.  

Of course, you may need to take time off for holidays, medical appointments, family commitments etc. and we can work around that. Visits are able to be rescheduled on the App, but if you are unavailable for several weeks at a time, please always try to make contact by phone or text so that we can arrange cover for you.

Although each nursing home Pal has an assigned Grandpal, Pals within the same nursing home will naturally get to know some of the other Grandpals as they come visit, and so if a cover does need to be arranged, your Pal will be visiting with someone they are familiar and comfortable with.

Retirement – At some point, you may decide that your time volunteering your time with Grandpal has come to a natural end. This may be due to a change in family circumstances, schedule, health or just feeling you have given as much as you can. We respect your decision and wish you well in all that you do. We can arrange an exit interview if you would like to make suggestions for improvements to the Grandpal experience.

The Grandpal Community

Grandpal Rewards

We want to thank our active community members for their compassion and kindness, and so we organise opportunities for our Grandpals to meet one another in a social setting and share experiences.

Grandpal Get Togethers

We regularly organize Grandpal Get Togethers as an opportunity to meet other Pals, and share experiences, activity ideas, and simply chat with other Pals chat over a cup of tea. These events are optional, but they are a fun way to meet people in your local Grandpal community.

Grandpal Dinners

In addition to Grandpal Get Togethers, we also organize Grandpal Dinners, which are a way locals can celebrate together when Grandpals reach a group milestone.

These events all provide ways to ways to treat our hardworking Pals to a meal as well as offer an opportunity to socialize with one another.

Health and Safety

Managing Risk

To protect Grandpals from causing or experiencing any potential harm, you must take part in the Grandpal Lessons through the App, and also other relevant mandatory training when requested by the nursing home staff. If you feel additional information, training or equipment is needed in your role as a Grandpal in order to remain safe, please bring this to the attention of the nursing home staff.

Incident Reporting

If you witness or experience an instance of harassment, elder abuse, or anything that breaches Grandpal’s code of conduct during a visit, please report this to the relevant member of the nursing staff as soon as possible so that prompt action can be taken, a record made and future risks minimised. 


All Grandpals are covered by Public Liability Insurance and Employers Liability Insurance in exactly the same manner as staff.

Guidelines for Good Practice

In order to provide an excellent standard of care to all Pals, Grandpals are expected to comply with each nursing home’s relevant policies and procedures. 


What is Grandpal?

Grandpal is a service that matches community members who have a heart for giving with a local older person who would benefit from having the additional one on one time.

Who becomes a Grandpal?

We search for Grandpals who are patient, kind, respectful and looking to do something meaningful with their spare time. We are always looking for new additions to our Grandpal Community. 

How do I become a Grandpal?

Taking the first step in becoming a Grandpal is easy! To begin the process, visit our website and answer a few brief questions. You will then be invited to schedule a call with us. We speak to everyone who signs up for Grandpal and use this phone call to explain how Grandpal works and to get to know you! From there, we will further guide you through the process. Simple!

I want to become involved with Grandpal, but there are no partnered nursing homes near me right now.

Grandpal is constantly expanding and creating new partnerships with nursing homes.

While we work on partnering with a nursing home near you, we would love to keep you updated on Grandpal via our Facebook page and blog. The moment an easily accessible nursing home partners with us, we will make sure to give you a call!

If you’d like to start a Grandpal campaign in your local town, please visit our website.

What is a Grandpal Get Together?

Grandpal Get Togethers are part of a regional event series. Grandpal Get Toegthers serve as an opportunity to meet other Grandpals and share different activity ideas, stories and experiences over a cup of tea and a chat. 

What is the Grandpal community?

Since the start of Grandpal, our community of pals has blossomed. We regularly invite our Grandpals to come together in a social setting, encouraging new friendships between local, like-minded people. 

Contact Details

If you have a question which is not covered in this handbook, more information can be found on our website. 

Additionally, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call with us online.



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