Please note, this is an archive news article from Peace Hospice Care.
Friday, 21 April 2023
Anne has been volunteering in the Peace Hospice Care Inpatient Unit in Watford since 2009
“It was my doctor who first suggested volunteering. I had been struggling with depression after retiring from a long-term job and finding myself without work when a temporary job ran out. He thought volunteering would help with my depression by giving me something to do, and it was him who printed the Peace Hospice Care application form for me.
“I went to meet the volunteering team at the Hospice and they suggested that I try volunteering in the Inpatient Unit to see how I got on. I got on very well and have been there ever since.
“My role involves working in the Inpatient Unit kitchen – serving food as well as washing up and keeping it clean and tidy. I, with my fellow volunteer, start at 8am so we can serve breakfasts to patients to free the nurses up to focus on patient care.
“After serving breakfast and making teas and coffees, we clear away trays and wash everything up before checking things like the milk dispenser to make sure it’s full and that all the patient food in the kitchen is stocked up and in-date.
“My colleague and I also look after the visitors’ kitchen to make sure it is clean, tidy and well stocked. We are on hand to make cups of tea and coffee for visitors as needed, to make them feel welcome and comfortable while they spend time with their loved one in the unit.
“We work closely with patients in the unit as we take their food orders to give to the chef in the main kitchen. Talking to patients is one of the things I most enjoy about the role. I also find it very rewarding when I’m able to encourage a patient to eat, especially if they haven’t eaten for a long time.
“Another thing I really enjoy about volunteering is the people I work with. The volunteer who works on the same shift as me started volunteering at a similar time and we have become very good friends. We work very well together and if I forget to do something I know she will have done it and vice-versa.
“I find this voluntary role a very worthwhile occupation, and get a good feeling knowing I have helped someone who isn’t feeling very well. During the pandemic we weren’t able to volunteer on the Inpatient Unit and I really missed it. When we were first able to return, the nurses were so pleased to see us. It was lovely to feel wanted. And I was very pleased to be able to come back, too!
“When volunteering in the IPU I don’t regularly see any other volunteers, apart from my fellow volunteer on the shift and the volunteers who come in just after us. So when the Hospice organises a get together for volunteers from across the whole organisation you really get a sense of just how many volunteers there are and what a range of roles they play in keeping everything running.
“You might expect the Inpatient Unit to be a very sad and gloomy place, but it’s far from it. The nursing staff are amazing and so friendly and happy that they make you feel good, too. Since retiring, volunteering is the best thing I have done and I would recommend it to anyone who is in the same position that I was.”