Volunteer programme wins Queen’s Award

A ground-breaking volunteer programme developed as a result of research conducted by the University’s Palliative Care Institute has won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Volunteering.

The Care for the Dying, Volunteer Service was first started at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust (RLBUHT) in 2012 as part of a research project funded by Dimbleby Cancer Care and Marie Curie and delivered by the Palliative Care Institute, University of Liverpool.

The volunteer service provides support for patients who are receiving end of life care in the hospital, complementing the clinical care provided by the professional medical and healthcare staff. The volunteers provide extra support and a reassuring presence for patients whose family are not able to be present or can enable families who are present to take a break from patients’ bedsides to rest, eat or take a shower knowing their loved one is not being left alone.

The original project recruited and trained the volunteers and then evaluated their impact. Following very positive feedback from staff, volunteers and bereaved relatives, the service has since been rolled out across RLBUHT.

The Queen’s Award is the highest award given to UK volunteer groups, being equivalent to an MBE1. It was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities.

The award was presented at an official ceremony on Monday, 29 January by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside, Mr Mark Blundell, accompanied by Deputy Lieutenants Colonel Martin Amlôt OBE OStJ DL and Mr Nigel Lanceley, in the presence of The Right Worshipful, The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy.

Professor John Ellershaw, Director of the Palliative Care Institute Liverpool said, “This prestigious award is a deserved recognition of the incredible contribution made by the volunteers.

“It demonstrates the real-world impact of the research delivered by the Palliative Care Institute at the University through our close joint working with the Hospital Trust leading to the roll-out of this ground-breaking and now award winning service for patients and their families.”

Aidan Kehoe, Chief Executive of RLBUHT, said: “The Care for the Dying, Volunteer Service has become an essential part of the Outstanding palliative and end of life care services we provide at the Trust.

“The volunteers provide a very human connection, extending a hand of friendship at a very difficult time in people’s lives. They are a very special group of people whose innate sense of gentleness and sincerity provides a very calming and reassuring presence for patients and their families and we feel very privileged and proud to have them.”

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