In celebration of Hospice Care Week and recognising the many different people who help us provide our care Philip shares why he volunteers as a Discharge Buddy. 

“The Discharge Buddy programme was quite a new idea when I joined. I’d got in touch with Martlets about volunteering and explained that I wanted a role that would directly help patients and their families and this sounded a really interesting thing to do. 

My Father had died about 18 months before and my Mother had not had, what I felt, to be a good death in hospital. So, I really wanted to do my bit to improve the experience that other people have. For me, I feel that it’s important to do what you can to help people – even if it’s just a little bit. 

As a Discharge Buddy, I’m there for people who are in the process of moving from the hospice back to home or perhaps a nursing home, supporting them and helping them to be as comfortable as possible. 

I meet them before discharge to get to know them and find out about their condition.  Then I’m with them and their families on the day of their discharge as a familiar face to provide the link between the hospice and their home.

These are people who may have stayed at Martlets for a little while to help them to control their symptoms and often they’re worried about their medications. So, I’m there to make sure they know what they need to do with their medicines and that they’ve got their repeats set up.

It’s a varied role, so I could be checking that their care is working as well as it should be, or simply ensuring that they’ve got enough milk in the fridge! 

It’s all about helping the patient to feel supported as they regain their independence and get settled back into life at home.

I feel privileged to be involved with people at this point in their lives and I’ve found helping them to be a profound experience. You definitely see the benefit that you are having on someone’s life; it’s not always an easy role but it’s certainly very positive.

It’s about helping people in a very direct manner and that’s a very fulfilling thing to do.”

Philip has volunteered for Martlets as a Discharge Buddy for around a year, helping patients to settle at home after they’ve had a short stay at the hospice.

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