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P31 Neighbourly support in our local communities
  1. Celia Pyke-Lees,
  2. Jane Cave and
  3. Elaine McDonough
  1. St Michael’s Hospice, St Leonards on Sea, UK


Introduction In mid-2012, we decided to create a volunteer service to complement our Hospice at Home service, extend our ability to support a patient’s choice to remain at home at the end of their life and widen the reach of our services.

The vision is for volunteers to support end of life clients in their own local communities through such activities as walking the dog, hanging out washing, taking the children to school, shopping, light gardening, or simply providing companionship.

Method A project group was set up to monitor and support the project’s progress and a project manager was appointed. Current service provision was scoped to ensure that the Hospice Neighbours scheme is not only required but also complements any service provision already in place. The project manager worked closely with Adult Social Care, General Practitioners and local community groups.

Starting first in three pilot areas, we have so far recruited over 40 volunteers. A bespoke training programme was developed and delivered to our first group of Hospice Neighbours volunteers. The aim of the training has been to provide practical support and advice such as, food hygiene training, fire safety awareness (kindly supported by the Fire Service), lone working etc. The feedback received from our new volunteers has been extremely positive with all of them feeling confident in their new volunteering role.

Progress We are now supporting our first clients in their own homes. The project manager undertakes an initial risk assessment visit to meet the client, discuss their needs; and then matches a volunteer to the client. Nominations for client support are increasing and our intention is to roll out the service across the whole of our area over the coming year. We are now recruiting volunteers and clients for the next three areas.

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