Aintree volunteers win NHS Parliamentary Award

A GROUP of hospital volunteers from Liverpool has been recognised for their work in enhancing end of life care and ensuring no patient dies alone.

The team at Aintree University Hospital has been named North West Volunteers of the Year in this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards after Walton MP Dan Carden nominated them for the accolade. 

The end of life service at Aintree started in 2012 and the volunteers who run the service sit with patients, hold their hands, moisten their lips, listen to their requests and generally show understanding and compassion to the patient and their family. They also act as a liaison between the patient, their family and the nursing staff. 

Volunteers providing this service attend a two and a half day training programme covering the principles of palliative care, symptom control, communication skills, clinical governance, spirituality and resilience.

It has been so successful that a number of other NHS organisations have visited Aintree to learn from their approach.

Dianne Brown, Chief Nurse at Aintree University Hospital, said: “I’m incredibly proud of our fabulous volunteers and this award is richly deserved. The end of life service really enhances the quality of support available to our patients and their families. Being able to spend time simply sitting with a dying patient, talking to them and their relatives can be an enormous comfort. And for those without any family to be with them, the presence of a volunteer ensures that a patient doesn’t die alone.”

Dan Carden MP said: “I was so impressed when I heard about the end of life companionship service at Aintree. The support the volunteers provide to dying patients and bereaved families is invaluable and shows an admirable level of compassion and empathy, which has rightly been recognised with this award win. Every one of them should be incredibly proud.”

David Levy, NHS England and NHS Improvement North West Medical Director, said: “I was impressed by the high standard of all entries from North West this year and choosing between the dozens of champions who all go above and beyond has been incredibly difficult.”