Kevin – IPU Volunteer

Kevin Packer

I volunteer here at St Clare every Saturday morning. In particular, I am a volunteer in the Inpatient Unit. My role includes carrying out many various tasks. Initially, when I arrive, I like to ensure that patients’ rooms are clean and tidy of their used breakfast bowls, and then I like to replenish fresh water jugs and offer a fresh cup of tea or coffee, before I move on to the next patient’s room and families and relatives.”

“Another important task is ensuring that the family and friends’ kitchen is kept replenished with tea, coffee and other essentials, and also removing the dirty mugs to the main kitchen – luckily there is a nice dishwasher waiting for me! Another important role that I carry out is taking the lunchtime meals to the patients. I particularly enjoy this part of my day as the patients often believe I have cooked their lunch – which obviously I haven’t!”

“As a volunteer, I do a bit of everything – anything that is required. I often feel that we volunteers are the nurses’ eyes and ears on the Inpatient Unit, too.”

“When they are busy looking after patients in their rooms, there may be occasions where another patient may need some assistance and I’m able to make the nurses aware so they can come and help them.”

“Another part of my role is to be an ear for the patients. I will sit down and have a chat with them – being a male volunteer obviously the topic of conversation generally revolves around football! But I have also been known to have long conversations about gardening as well!”

“Back in February, I received my 5 year certificate for being a St Clare volunteer, so I’m now in my 6th year. I am often asked why I became a volunteer, and it is because throughout my working life I have always worked with people, often working in people’s houses, and I’d notice that on a lot of occasions our older customers were on their own and lonely – so I’d stay and have a cup of tea with them. Doing that stuck with me, and eventually I got to a point in my life where I thought it was time to give something back to the community. I contacted the Hospice, had an interview where I was asked what would I like to do, and the obvious thing to me was to volunteer on the Inpatient Unit – and I haven’t looked back since!”

“One of the best things about volunteering at St Clare is knowing that when I finish my shift, I have made a difference.”

“However big or small, whether it’s a patient or a relative that just might want a chat or a simple cup of tea, as a volunteer I am there to listen and make the patient and family as comfortable as I can. When I get home, I know I’ve done something to contribute to the community.”

“Having volunteered here and met the people I have, I realise that the nursing staff here are a special kind of people.”

“Although it can be challenging when a person is very unwell in the Hospice, it’s so humbling to see how the nurses really care. They are always so kind and compassionate. Nothing is too much trouble when someone needs or wants something.”

“Sometimes people say to me that they don’t know how I do it, volunteering on the Inpatient Unit. Yet, it’s not an unhappy place at all – it’s a happy place.

“People are cared for so well and the environment is so peaceful.”

“Without volunteers, places like St Clare would not be able to run as well as they do. There is such a diverse range of roles here, and the volunteers do such great work.”

– Kevin


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