We have launched a new volunteer outreach programme to provide comfort and companionship for patients at Southport Hospital who are in the last hours to days of life and whose families are absent or need support whilst they take a short break. Queenscourt, which provides free, high-quality care for the people of Southport, Formby and West Lancashire, have recruited and trained a new team of volunteers to deliver the service. The team will not only provide support to patients at Southport Hospital who have little or no family support available, or whose family live away, but will also provide comfort to families who are unable to keep vigil at a loved one’s bedside.
All of the volunteers recruited to provide the service have previous experience of working in the healthcare arena or caring for a relative at the end of life. They will visit patients for up to two hours at a time and will provide an empathetic presence, gentle conversation or a simple touch massage, all in accordance with the wishes of patients and their families.
Patients who are eligible to benefit from the service will be identified by our Transform team or the Hospital Specialist Palliative Care Nurse (HPCNS). The Transform team provides education and support for clinical staff caring for people in the final months and days of life, supports patients and their families with advance care planning discussions and provides emotional support for families of those thought likely to be dying where there may be no special palliative care needs identified.
The new hospital volunteer outreach service is part of our ‘Queenscourt Outside’ programme, which is designed to support patients outside Queenscourt who are facing the end of life. Like all our services, this will be provided free of charge to those who need it.
Every year, we support hundreds of patients with life limiting illnesses, whether in the hospice, hospital, community or care homes, enabling them to achieve the best possible quality of life. In all, it costs over £400 an hour, 365 days a year to keep Queenscourt Hospice running and we rely heavily on community support and donations to do this.
Helen Birch, our Director of Nursing Services said, “A very important part of what Queenscourt delivers is emotional and compassionate support for patients and their families, whether they’re within the hospice itself or out in the wider community – including Southport and Ormskirk Hospital. Our new volunteer service is designed to help ensure that patients at Southport Hospital who are reaching the end of their lives have an empathetic presence and companion by their side in their time of need. For families who are unable to visit loved ones regularly, we hope the service will also provide some comfort and peace of mind. We are enormously grateful to our team of dedicated volunteers who are giving their time to help support patients at Southport Hospital and uphold our core values of compassion, care, dignity and respect.”