Published on Friday 20 January 2017
Wirral University Teaching Hospital is looking for kind-hearted volunteers to support patients in their final stages of life and their families following a successful pilot project undertaken last year.
In 2016, Arrowe Park Hospital launched a Volunteer Companionship Service in several wards to provide company for patients close to the end of their life and enhance support to their family or carers during a very difficult time. Having received positive feedback showing that the volunteers were making real difference to people in their time of need, the hospital is now planning to extend the service throughout the whole hospital.
End of Life Care Transform Lead Nurse, Clare Brown explained: “Our End of Life Care volunteers help in many different ways including signposting people to the appropriate members of staff and nearby facilities, making drinks for relatives, being a reassuring presence or providing some company to a patient who may not have any family or friends around.
“We started the pilot last year to complement the existing care delivered by our clinical teams. As it’s been so well received by patients, families, carers and ward staff we are keen to increase our volunteers so that they can support even more people.
“We are looking for volunteers who are caring, compassionate and feel strongly about making a difference to people nearing the end of their lives. All applicants will go through a process to check their suitability and if successful, will complete training to help them undertake the role. We are asking for a minimum commitment of two hours per week and in return, volunteers will be well supported, both emotionally and practically, by our specialist End of Life Care team.”
Carol Henderson from Heswall has been volunteering since the pilot was launched last year.
She said: “I felt that I had something to offer the patients and families who we support so I thought it was important to volunteer when the pilot was launched last year. I have found the role extremely rewarding and families have been very appreciative of my help.”
The hospital has arranged two drop-in sessions for anyone who is interested in finding out more about being an End of Life Care volunteer from existing volunteers and staff. They are:
24 January 2017 2pm - 3pm Room 2, Education Centre, Arrowe Park Hospital
25 January 2017 10am -11am Room 7, Education Centre, Arrowe Park Hospital
Over the past year, Wirral University Teaching Hospital has made many improvements to end of life care, including providing better information to relatives, improving how pain medication is prescribed and training over 400 members of additional staff.
Last autumn, the Trust launched a new End of Life Care Strategy emphasising their commitment to making sure that every single patient has fair and equal access to the care they need at the end of their life, regardless of their illness.A high profile awareness campaign within Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals highlighted how everyone who works or volunteers for the Trust, whether as a clinician, in an office, in a shop, as a cleaner or on the telephone switchboard, has an important role to play in providing the best possible experience for patients and their loved ones at what is usually a very emotional time.
Pictured above: End of Life Care Nurses Clare Brown and Emma Given with volunteers Doreen Taylor and Carol Henderson.