Companions Service is a Community Volunteering programme delivered by Dorothy House Hospice Care to assist patients to undertake community activities.
How and why we started the project
Ardgowan Hospice had the vision of palliative care reaching beyond the hospice and committed to adopting community development which would address the public health approach to palliative care. The Hospice has provided initial funding to get the programme off the ground (funding the three year secondment of a member of staff) and sits on the Compassionate Inverclyde Programme Board.
Challenges we have faced
There have been no major operational challenges however the continuation of the agreed secondment is a challenge.
The benefits we have seen
- There are benefits to the volunteers themselves many of them reporting improved self-esteem and confidence.
“It has given me the confidence after becoming a mum and a realisation that I can still do things” (Volunteer)
- Patients report a sense of feeling cared for and valued
“In all of my 92yrs I have never experienced such kindness, this box has touched my heart so deeply, I thank you so sincerely from the bottom of my heart” (Patient receiving a home from hospital box)
- Families have reported that they have felt supported during one of the most traumatic experiences in life
“My father sadly passed away last week after a long stay in (Local Hospital). During his last few days he and the family were supported by None Dies Alone (NODA) volunteers. My brother and I would like to express our gratitude for the help and comfort we were all given during this time. The volunteer companions were understanding and supportive and totally non-judgemental about the amount of time the family were able to spend with my father, allowing us to also spend time at home looking after our mother” (Family member)
Our advice to others
- That this is part of a Social Movement and not another service
- That it is about ordinary people helping ordinary people
- It is a Community development approach
- Needs based evolution, with no blue print development. It is not prescriptive
- No prior set outcomes, they will evolve
Plans for the future of Compassionate Inverclyde
- Neighbourly visiting for the over 80’s Back Home Visitors programme
- Using ordinary people to help care for people who want to die at home
- To become a placement for community justice
- To become a placement for student nurses
- To develop an award programme for organisations
- External evaluation to be carried out
For more information, please watch Developing Compassionate Inverclyde and Compassionate Inverclyde Staff and Volunteer Perspective or contact Alison Bunce.