OLKA refers to coordinated work done by NGOs and volunteers at hospitals.

OLKA is a service providing peer support for patients and their family members. The purpose in this is to offer patients and their loved ones unhurried encounters and support in coming to terms with their disorder.

OLKA maintains OLKA desks in hospital lobbies, where NGOs and hospital units can give presentations. Every OLKA volunteer has been trained and orientated in their duties. Volunteers accompany and provide support for patients but are not involved in their treatment. Also, volunteers are not used for doing the work of the actual employees.

OLKA desks at eight HUS hospitals

There is an OLKA desk at Meilahti at the Triangle Hospital, the Tower Hospital, the Oncology Clinic and the New Children’s Hospital, and also at the Jorvi, Lohja, Hyvinkää and Raseborg Hospitals.

OLKA operations and their evolution are tracked with an annual OLKA-Q survey. During 2019, OLKA operations expanded according to targets both at the HUS level and nationwide.

At Helsinki University Hospital, there were more than 20,000 encounters with volunteers. There are about 140 volunteers at Helsinki University Hospital; about one third of their duties have to do with peer support.

There were 184 theme days held at OLKA desks at hospitals, with a total of about 2,000 encounters between volunteers and patients or their loved ones. In addition to hospitals in the Helsinki metropolitan area, there are OLKA services at nearly 20 locations all around Finland.

OLKA maintains the Vertaistalo [Peer Support House] in the Health Village. OLKA is being run jointly by HUS and EJY [Community of NGOs in Espoo].