Volunteer Susan Vosper
This has mainly been a weekly shift in the inpatient unit, as well as volunteering some of her time in the Anniversary Centre in Sydenham.
Susan helps with taking food orders on one of the wards; giving patients the opportunity to be able to order good, fresh food when they feel like it, outside of established mealtimes. “This is such a good way of making relationships with patients and their visitors. I see that it really makes a difference when patients can order food and eat when they feel like it.
“Sometimes people are just not up for eating at mealtimes, but then they might have a bit more energy and feel hungry at other times. When the food arrives I help people to eat and drink. I like to help the nursing team as much as possible. Sometimes there are a lot of very sick and vulnerable people, and it makes me feel good that I can help the nurses in a very practical way – nothing is ever too mundane.”
Susan describes the value of her training and volunteering experience at St Christopher’s: “The training prepares you for most things. The main thing is that it gives you confidence when you might be a little reticent. You know, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some extraordinary individuals… it never occurred to me that it would all be so interesting and life-affirming. I have never felt more alive since mixing with dying people. I’m very lucky.”
Importantly, Susan’s experience of volunteering convinces her of the value of hospice care and how she can champion it.
“The whole experience has changed my perception of the hospice and the work that it does – I feel I am now an ambassador for St Christopher’s when I’m out there getting on with my life – persuading people what a normal place the hospice really is.”