Sandra is a volunteer with a unique understanding of the hospice having been a co-founder forty years ago, tending its growth as a member of the board and then serving as Vice President. Now in retirement, Sandra enjoys helping out in the ward treating patients to tea, coffee and the occasional slice of cake.
We began with 4-bedded wards. When we introduced customer experience surveys, a first at the time, patients fed back how much they valued their privacy and personal space so we then changed these to individual bedrooms. Quality of life is everything – we deal with the symptoms and changed our treatments with an emphasis on giving the best possible quality of life.
The patient surveys are now given daily, allowing St Wilfrid’s to be very proactive in tailoring the experience of each patient. Sandra describes a new found freedom she enjoys with her ward volunteer role:
Taking care of the tea and coffee means I spend more time with patients talking about their lives than I ever could have as a Doctor. This also frees the nurses to focus some time on the medical side of things too. The spirit of the place is patience and calmness. Many patients have told me over the years that as soon as they were through the door they felt safe.
One of Sandra's proudest achievements was supporting the establishment of St Wilfrid's Education Centre.
"Education is the difference. Through my training from nurse, to Dr and then the MA in Medical Education, I’ve seen the benefit of changing the way we perceive medical and palliative care. The social aspect of care is all important in giving each person that piece of mind to reach a higher level of spiritual tranquility."
Volunteering offers you a chance to really make a difference to the lives of many people. You can also be matched to what you enjoy doing and how much time you want to give. Find out about our various different roles on offer at www.stwh.co.uk/volunteering.