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Hospice Volunteer Pamela Bailey

Volunteering for St Nic’s: Pamela’s experience

Pamela Bailey has been a volunteer at St Nicholas Hospice Care for more than 20 years. In that time she has supported the Hospice in a number of ways, she has also fundraiser for us too.

Here she shares just a snapshot of her experience.

“I volunteer because I enjoy it and find it interesting and rewarding. I am not a medical person, but being there for a patient and their family at the end of life is important and part of the holistic therapy central to hospice care.

“I have been a volunteer for 23 years, and in that time I have learnt much about life and indeed about myself.

“It was a chance visit to St Nicholas Hospice Care, quite unrelated to the work of the Hospice, that decided me to volunteer when I retired. It’s a very special building with a positive and peaceful atmosphere.

“I have helped with Headstart, where we helped ladies with scarves and hats after chemo resulted in hair loss. Also, Day Hospice and an Open House coffee morning both providing support for patients, those who had been bereaved and their families. I remember Positive Steps, which brought together groups of patients and their carers….one of the things so important is recognising the role of the carer.

“After my husband died I decided to train as a Psychological support volunteer. So I have clients to visit in the community or via the telephone, and at the moment I am part of a team visiting the Sylvan Ward to support the patient and the family.

“Our role is to be there for all concerned, be it the patient, the family or close friends. It is a privilege to be alongside the whole family. End of life affects so many people in so many ways, and our place is just to be there to listen to thoughts and feelings as life directs. Not to judge and not to provide answers. Just be there. Being with someone and indeed the family at the end of life is a huge privilege.

“As volunteers, we do get support if we are affected by our work. It’s important to “offload” after a session on the ward if necessary.

“There is always someone to speak to, and as volunteers, we are there for one another.

“So to anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer, please go ahead and see how you go. I have made a lot of friends, met many wonderful people and learnt a lot.

“Whatever life skills you have, there is a place for everybody at St Nic’s.”