New companionship service launched

04 June 2015

A NEW companionship service staffed by volunteers is being launched by Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

New companionship service launched

Twelve volunteers have undertaken training to become a Hospice In Your Home Volunteer. The volunteers will visit people living in their own homes who have a life limiting condition and would benefit from companionship.

Referrals will initially be made by Hospice clinical staff when Hospice In Your Home Volunteers launches in June. The Hospice In Your Home team will then visit each patient and match the patient with a volunteer.

The referrals system will be extended after a trial period so that other health and social care professionals in the community can refer people to the service.

Rose Davis, Hospice In Your Home Manager, said: "More and more people are living on their own these days, this combined with diagnosis of a life-limiting condition, may result in them feeling more isolated.
"Our new service is about the Hospice reaching those people and others, who may or may not have friends and family around, but would still like someone to talk to. Our volunteers will be someone they can chat to, who will listen, enjoy a cup of tea with them and spend a few hours at their home.
"It also means carers may be supported or can take a rest break while the volunteer is there."

The service is additional to Hospice In Your Home which consists of 14 healthcare assistants and registered nurses who provide practical support and nursing care to people with a life-limiting illness in the community.

Jan Harvey, 61, from Shevington is one of those who will spend a few hours every week as a Hospice In Your Home Volunteer.

She said: "I like that this service will not only help patients but that thought has been given to the carer. My sister-in-law Gill gave up her job to look after my mother-in-law and did it for 4 years. We all helped as much as we could but I never once gave my time for Gill and it will be nice to give someone like Gill some time for them.
"I'm a chatterbox and a listener - I used to have a hairdressing salon so it's all part and parcel of my personality. I like people and I miss having that chance to talk."

Alan Molyneux, 66, from Beech Hill already volunteers for the Hospice performing electrical safety tests on items donated to Hospice shops.

"I visit people through the church who are housebound and elderly and I've done that for 10 years so this is something that appealed to me," he said. "I have the time and I get pleasure from visiting people. I enjoy being able to listen, provide a bit of company for them and mine is a different face for them to see."

Vicky Wilcox, 59, already volunteers on the Inpatient Unit. She said: "I really enjoy volunteering in the Hospice and sometimes you get to know patients and their families but because the Inpatient Unit is for short-term stays you don't always get to know people very well. As a Hospice In Your Home Volunteer I'm looking forward to being able to see the same person every week and getting to know them."

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