Sandra Sedgwick's story

Sandra is a volunteer with a unique understanding of the hospice having been a co-founder forty years ago, sheparding its growth as a member of the board and as Vice President. Now in retirement Sandra enjoys helping out in the ward treating patients to tea, coffee and the occasional slice of cake.

Sandra had been a GP when she met Dame Cecilary Saunders – who was pioneering the idea of turning a hospice into a source of dedicated palliative care. Up until then hospice had only had connotations with the knights Templar and other orders as a safe place to stop and receive treatments.

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.

We began with 4 bedded wards, when we introduced customer experience surveys (a first at the time we changed these to individual rooms a s customers fed back how much they valued their privacy and personal space. The customer surveys which have evolved into their daily version today, allow St Wilfrid’s to really personalise the care and be very proactive in tailoring the experience to each patient.

“Taking care of the tea and coffee means I can 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. The spirit of the place is patience and calmness, many patients have told me over the years that as soon as I’m through the door I felt safe.”

I also work as bit of an ambassador for St Wilfrid’s spreading the word in my local community and with the Tangent women’s group I am part of.

One of Sandra's proudest achievements was supporting the establishment of St Wilfrid's education centre. The courses at which are wildly regarded as amongst the best in their field.

"Education is the difference. Through my training to nurse, to Dr and 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 high level of spiritual tranquility."

"Why volunteer here? St Wilfrid’s a very friendly and welcoming place. It’s 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."

Volunteering can start from as little as 1 hour a week. Find out about our various different roles on offer at www.stwh.co.uk/volunteering