26 January 2016

Home visitor volunteers sought

home volunteer (re-sized)Rennie Grove Hospice Care is seeking volunteers from the Dacorum area to join its team of home visitors across the county.  The charity already has 14 such volunteers who provide support and companionship to patients and their carers on a regular basis.

Senior Occupational Therapist for Rennie Grove, Julie Hill, explained: “By offering a commitment of two or three hours a week, home volunteers can build up a mutual rapport with patients, sharing conversation and a cup of tea in the patients’ home, or maybe going out together for a short walk or drive.  These visits can be very beneficial for the patient, because they take their mind off their illness.  Our existing home volunteers say that they enjoy it too: knowing they’ve made a difference but also just having a good old catch up with someone who has become a friend.”

Hertfordshire resident Joyce McPherson has bowel cancer and finds the home-sitting service offered by Rennie Grove a great help.  “My condition restrains me from going out because I can’t walk very well and as time goes on you become withdrawn and lose confidence.  Having the home-sitters has really helped me.  They are so good at drawing you out so that you find yourself chatting quite freely. I live alone and I might not see anyone for a while so to have someone come and sit with me, just to chat, is really nice.  It doesn’t need to be about anything serious or personal – just seeing a friendly face and having a casual, relaxed chat makes a big difference.  I’ve been using the service for a few months now.  I lose track of time a little because my condition means I’m living day to day – but knowing I’ll have a visit every two to three weeks is a huge help.”

Home volunteers also provide much-needed respite to family members by sitting with the patient while the carer goes out or catches up on sleep.  In addition, they might offer to help out by collecting prescriptions or picking up a few items from the local shops. 

“Essentially, our home volunteers play a valuable role in enhancing the quality of patients’ and carers’ lives by providing support and promoting their welfare,” added Julie.

All home volunteers receive training, liaise regularly with the charity’s clinical team and attend bi-monthly support meetings in St Albans.  To find out more, visit www.renniegrove.org/volunteer or call 01727 731000