Butterfly volunteers to support our patients in their final hours
Often the most important care we give to our patients comes at the end of their lives, enabling those who die in our hospital – some 70 a week – to have as good a death as possible.
Now, Butterfly volunteers will help make a difference for these patients by providing comfort, company and support.
NNUH is the second Trust in the country to introduce Butterfly Volunteers, an initiative started by the Anne Robson Trust in 2018.
Chief Nurse Prof Nancy Fontaine is a patron of the charity and introduced the volunteers when she was Chief Nurse at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow. “I’m a trained Butterfly Volunteer, which is a role I take extremely seriously,” she said. “I saw first-hand what a huge difference it makes to patients in their final hours or days to have someone there, focused on their needs, and I’m excited that we’ll be offering this compassionate care here. It can be as simple as reading to them, or just being there to offer solace.”
The volunteers will be led by Emma Taylor, Butterfly Volunteer Co-ordinator, who is seeking recruits for the team.
“We’re looking for around 35 Butterfly volunteers in total, who are able to volunteer for any of the periods from 10am-1pm, 2-4pm and 4-6pm from Monday to Friday,” said Emma. “Preferably they will have had experience of bereavement themselves, either personally or professionally, and we will offer full training and support.
“Our focus is on our patients, and we will be there for everyone who needs us, but we’re also there to reassure and support their families, whether that’s organising a carer’s passport, getting them a cup of tea or arranging any additional help they might need.
“We’ll work closely with the Palliative Care and Chaplaincy teams, as well as ward staff as they provide for patients’ medical needs, and we anticipate supporting patients with around 200 Butterfly visits a month.”
If you would like to find out more about being a volunteer, please contact Emma by emailing Emma.Taylor@nnuh.nhs.uk. You can also read more about the Anne Robson Trust.