28th May 2020
Volunteers support hospice with patient welfare calls
During Volunteers Week, we celebrate the contribution of all our wonderful volunteers. Today we bring you news of what some of them are doing to help our patients during lockdown.
A team of volunteers is supporting frontline staff at the hospice by carrying out welfare calls to patients who would normally come to Day Therapy.
The team make weekly calls to patients where they run through a set of questions to check on their emotional and physical wellbeing and report back to the hospice for further support if needed.
Jenny Baptist is one of the volunteers. She has a list of patients who she phones to check how they are feeling, how they are coping during lockdown and whether they need any additional support. She will ascertain whether the patients feel supported, if they have someone doing their shopping, if they have food.
Jenny says: “The patients I phone appreciate us being in touch and feel reassured knowing they can call on the hospice if they need to. Some are struggling with being in isolation and they all miss coming into the hospice, so they appreciate having a chat. They say it’s comforting to get a call once a week.”
As well as checking on welfare, the volunteers help patients set little goals for themselves during lockdown. One patient was afraid to go into her garden, but Jenny was able to persuade her to sit outside in the shade.
“She felt better having spent some time outside in the lovely weather listening to the birds and looking at the flowers,” said Jenny. “Setting little achievable goals can help with wellbeing in this sort of situation.”
The team have also been able to put patients in touch with each other if they were missing seeing their friends at Day Therapy.
Jenny finds making the calls rewarding as she was missing coming into the hospice as a Day Therapy volunteer.
“When we went into lockdown I missed my hospice work so was pleased when I was asked to do something. It’s good to feel that in some small way I can make life a little bit better for our patients and to continue to give something back which was the reason I joined the hospice in the first place.”
Since it was launched five weeks ago, the Hospice Outreach and Discharge Support team has used the information fed in by volunteers to arrange counselling for patients in self-isolation, contact GPs when patients needed medication, refer to District Nursing services for support and arrange home visits by the hospice physiotherapist.
Annette Adams, Day Services Manager, says “I’ve found the information the volunteers bring back to me invaluable. We could not have provided this service without the help of our very competent, professional volunteers who have supported myself and the patients during this pandemic.
“I want to say a big thank you from all our Day Therapy staff as we couldn’t care for our Day Therapy patients without you.”
Director of Care Jo Polkey says: “The volunteers who have turned their skills into providing a wellbeing lifeline for our Day Therapy patients have been amazing in the support they have given and the information they have provided to help ensure our patients stay supported throughout this time.
“They have continued through COVID to provide a point of contact and a listening ear and to support people at their most vulnerable and isolated.
“All our volunteers never cease to amaze me with their commitment and dedication to go the extra mile and that dedication has continued in these extraordinary times.”
Nottinghamshire Hospice is expecting a loss in funding of £150,000 due to shop closures and event cancellations during lockdown. It launched its Forget Us Not appeal last month to address the shortfall. Find out how to support the appeal here