We look at how volunteer End of Life Companions at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board are supporting families at their time of need.
The End of Life (EoL) Companion volunteer service at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (UHB) commenced at the very start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Companions were recruited and trained so they were ready to support any patient that was at the end of their life and at risk of dying alone. End of Life Companions have supported patients both as befrienders and also provided support to patients who are in the last days of their lives.
Late last year, the Person Centred Care Team at Aneurin Bevan UHB had a request for the EoL Companions to support a family in providing some additional company for their relative. The family members were exhausted. They had been sitting with their relative 24-hours a day and they needed some rest. However, they did not want their relative to be alone.
The EoL Clinical Skills Trainer met with the family to explain the Companion role. She then arranged for three Companions to visit the following day so that the family could have some much needed rest. The Clinical Skills Trainer also met with the ward staff so that they were aware of the support that had been put in place.
The Companions know they may be contacted at short notice and were very pleased that they could support both the patient and the relatives. It was during one of the Companion visits that the patient peacefully died and importantly they were not alone which was a comfort to both the patient and their relatives.
‘The Health Board are so grateful to our End of Life Companions who provide a very special and unique companionship in the final hours and moments of peoples’ lives.’ Aneurin Bevan UHB, January 2022.
Helpforce Cymru is working with Third Sector Support Wales (WCVA and the 19 County Voluntary Councils), Welsh Government and other partners to develop the potential of volunteering to support health and social care services in Wales.
The Helpforce Cymru page on our website includes links to recent articles, blogs and case studies.