It’s Dying Matters Week (13-19 May) and Raise – West Hertfordshire Hospitals charity – is launching a new fundraising appeal to support patients in their final days. The hospital’s palliative care team is joining forces with the charity to seek funds to expand the Rose Project to ensure that dying patients have all the care and support they need, when they need it most.
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The majority of hospital deaths are to be expected, but many patients do not have loved ones to support them, and even close families and carers can find it difficult to visit. Hospital staff know that many patients nearing the end of their life can experience loneliness and anxiety.
Liz Sumner, Palliative Care Team Leader, explains how the Rose project will help: “We’ve been developing our Rose project to promote dignity and compassion for our dying patients.
“At the heart of the initiative will be a team of volunteers, specially trained to provide patients with companionship, a listening ear and a comforting hand to hold. Families need our help too, whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or the reassurance of knowing that a volunteer can sit with their loved one if they can’t be there.
“Up to four people every day benefit from our end-of-life care at Watford General. We are looking for £50,000 to fund the Rose project for two years – that’s just £17 for every patient who might need us. We only get one chance to get this right, so we are asking you to please show your compassion and support our appeal.”
Irene Wilson from Brickett Wood is one of the first to take part in training to become a Rose volunteer: “Death is a natural part of life, unfortunately. No one should die alone, unless of course they choose to, but very few do. I know, from my own experience, that families and relatives can be emotionally adrift and they just need someone to take care of them, to be there. There’s a definite gap here that the NHS can’t possibly fill where volunteers like me can help.”
To support this new initiative please visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/roseproject or call Raise’s fundraising office on 07393 232313.
If you’re interested in becoming a Rose volunteer, please download the information sheet here.
Dying Matters Week is held annually to try and change knowledge, attitudes and behaviours around death and dying.