Princess Alexandra: Become a Butterfly Volunteer and help ensure no one has to die alone

Charity / Fri 23rd Mar 2018 at 04:36pm

Anne Robson

By Adam Spartley

THE ANNE Robson Trust is appealing for ‘Butterfly Volunteers’ to help ensure that no one has to spend their final days alone.

As a volunteer you will be working alongside the End of Life Care team at Princess Alexandra Hospital, providing support and humanity to patients on the Gibberd Ward.

“I found it quite sad when I realised that people were in hospital, dying alone, and I was clocking off at 5 o clock. I thought, I’ve got a couple of hours and I’d love to sit with someone who needs company, and I’ve found it really rewarding. It truly makes a difference to patients and their families.” said Lynn Marriott, a board and committee secretary at Princess Alexandra Hospital who has recently become a Butterfly Volunteer.

Butterfly Volunteers work through the Anne Robson Trust, and provide compassionate listening, comfort and companionship for patients in the last few days and hours of life, many of whom have few or no visitors, and would otherwise be alone.

Making cups of tea, providing a listening ear and giving respite to families who need a break from sitting by the bedside are small tasks that can make an incredible difference.

‘Since I started I can honestly say I’ve never looked back,’ said Lynn, ‘Although i will admit I found my first day quite tough. An elderly lady I had been sitting with for a couple of hours died towards the end of my shift and that was hard. But soon after I felt honoured to have been with her at the end. If I or any of the other volunteers hadn’t been there she would have died alone.’

Founder and CEO of the Anne Robson Trust, Liz Pryor, was compelled to set up the Anne Robson Trust following the poor treatment of her mother, Anne Robson, who sadly died only a few hours after being discharged from a Suffolk hospital.

‘Society is growing exponentially and lots of elderly people are in hospital unsupported, and it is impossible for nursing staff to sit with individual patients for hours on end due to the volume of work and the needs of other patients.’ Said Liz.

‘The work we do as Butterfly Volunteers affects everyone. We give support and a sympathetic ear to the patients and their families at an incredibly difficult time, and we also alleviate pressure from the nursing staff, allowing them to continue the great work they do to the best of their abilities.’

The great work of those involved in end of life care at PAH has not gone unnoticed.

A glowing testimonial from the son of a recently deceased patient was broadcast as part of a BBC Look East report yesterday, paying tribute to the hard work and determination of the nursing staff and volunteers on The Gibberd Ward.

Kind words are scattered across the Trusts social media pages, and feedback from relatives and friends of patients has been overwhelmingly positive.

Joanna Corscaden is Director of Care for the Anne Robson Trust and has a long background in nursing. As a qualified General Nurse, Midwife and Soul Midwife (spiritual companion to the dying), she is passionate about her role as a Butterfly Volunteer, and has been enamoured by the compassion of the team at Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Joanna said, ‘I have nursed in many hospitals across the country and I would say the support from the team here, and the seamless way every part of the team works together is beautiful and that’s a real change compared to some of the other hospitals I have worked at. The team here are truly remarkable and they have earned all the praise they receive ’

As word spreads of the fine work of the Butterfly Volunteers, the number of applicants continues to grow, and in turn less and less people have to face the prospect of dying alone.

If you would like to volunteer, please click the link below.


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1 Comment for Princess Alexandra: Become a Butterfly Volunteer and help ensure no one has to die alone:

Catherine Maleary
2024-02-18 20:43:25

Can you please add me to the waiting list to become a butterfly volunteer. I am passionate about no-one dying alone. I have gained experience, sadly by family passing and would love to support other people/ families.

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