Compassionate care volunteer service launches at hospital

A group of specially-trained compassionate care volunteers have started work supporting very poorly patients and their families at a Midland hospital.

Rosemary Callear and Marion Atkin from the Compassionate Care Volunteer Service at Good Hope Hospital
Rosemary Callear and Marion Atkin from the Compassionate Care Volunteer Service at Good Hope Hospital

The brand new initiative at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, developed by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) in collaboration with national bereavement charity, The Anne Robson Trust, has involved recruiting and training compassionate and kind individuals who are keen to make a difference to people at a difficult time.

The volunteers work as part of the hospital’s end of life and bereavement team, sitting with patients who may have no visitors, as well as providing a friendly listening ear to family and friends.

Rosemary Callear, who is retired and from Aldridge, decided to become a compassionate care volunteer after hearing about the role through a relative.

Rosemary said: “I have experience of looking after family members and was inspired to become a volunteer during the pandemic, which really highlighted how people can become lonely.

"I enjoy being able to provide support, care and love whether that’s by giving relatives a break by ensuring their loved one won’t be left on their own, or simply by making them a cup of tea. I have found the role really positive so far and had great support from the nursing team.”

Marion Atkin, from Kings Heath, works part time as an audiologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

She decided to dedicate some of her spare time to becoming a compassionate care volunteer.

Marion said: “For me, it was about putting myself in someone else’s shoes and thinking about what I would want for my loved one, if they were poorly in hospital. I am doing one shift per week and the role often just involves sitting and lending an empathetic ear to patients and their loved ones.

"If you are interested in the role, I would recommend coming along to an information session to hear what is involved. I was given training and support to gain all the tools to volunteer.”

Denise Nally, project co-ordinator, added: “The feedback we have received from patients and their families to date has been overwhelmingly positive.

"We are offering the service to patients and their families on the healthcare for older people wards at Good Hope initially, with the aim of expanding hospital-wide and then eventually throughout our other hospital sites."

If you would like to register your interest in becoming a compassionate care volunteer, email the end of life and bereavement team at EndOfLifeTeam@uhb.nhs.uk

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