Following a successful launch last summer, Rennie Grove Hospice Care is now seeking more volunteer ‘Supporting Hands’ to join its south Bucks service that offers additional support for Rennie Grove patients and their families.
Jenny Skinner, Project Lead for Supporting Hands, explains more about the service: “Demand for our specialist nursing service in patients’ homes has been increasing each year, especially in south Bucks. We launched Supporting Hands so that we could ensure that patients and their families receive all the support they need to ensure they continue to have the choice to remain at home, surrounded by friends and family for as long as possible.
“Using our Supporting Hands volunteers to support patients with non-medical tasks, for example by filling in forms for benefits such as Attendance Allowance or Blue Badge car parking and providing a listening ear, allows our nursing teams to concentrate on delivering the medical care that only they can.
“A very important aspect of the role of Supporting Hands volunteers is providing companionship to patients; other activities they might be asked to help out with may include taking a patient for a coffee for a change of scenery or to assist those who otherwise may not be able to get out of the house, shopping for basics or helping around the house.”
Volunteers at the inaugural training session in the autumn gave a number of reasons for wanting to be involved.
Gita Kadirgamar, who is also a volunteer driver for Rennie Grove said: “I have always enjoyed talking to patients en route to appointments but the conversation stops when I drop them off so it will be good to have more time to continue the conversation and support patients for longer than their journey takes.”
And Ron Erlick who has been volunteering for a charity providing services to people with visual impairments for 15 years wanted to do more and spotted an article on Supporting Hands in his local newspaper. Ron said: “I hope I have the right skills – I am practical and my domestic skills aren’t bad”.
All the volunteers participating in the Supporting Hands training session were full of enthusiasm and couldn’t wait to get started. They all felt that volunteers get something out of volunteering personally – learning new skills, meeting new people, feeling that they are making a difference and helping other people in their local community.
Jenny Skinner explains more about the matching process between volunteers and clients. “We receive referrals from our Hospice at Home and children’s teams and arrange an initial home visit with the client to assess their needs. We look at our directory of volunteers and match according to availability, location and interests.”
Barbara Brereton was the first volunteer to be matched with a client. This is what she has to say: “I felt a little apprehensive before I met my client for the first time. But Jenny came with me to introduce us and then left us to get to know one another. When we came to the end of our session, we arranged another meeting. I felt really comfortable with our first meeting and have visited twice now. I am really looking forward to next meeting.
“Because of the comprehensive training I received and ongoing support available I feel that things are going well. I am offering my client emotional support and companionship. During our first session we chatted about our families and places we have lived and visited. It wasn’t long before we realised that we had many things in common.
“I think if you can make a difference to someone going through a difficult and bewildering time in their life by offering them a “Supporting Hand” then that is both a privilege and a very worthwhile experience.”
You don’t need any formal qualifications to become a member of Rennie Grove’s Supporting Hands team but you will need to be able to spare a few hours on a regular basis, be able to offer practical as well as emotional support along with companionship. To find our more please visit www.renniegrove.org/volunteer and complete our online volunteer enquiry form. Alternatively you can call us on 01442 890222 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org