Hospital’s compassionate companions support for the dying

Support for the dying companionsStaff and volunteers at a Coventry hospital are raising awareness of a companion support service for patients who are in the last days of life.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust’s Support for the Dying Companion Awareness Week (January 23-27) aims to raise awareness of a team of 19 specially trained Support for the Dying volunteer companions.

The companions sit with, and talk or read to, patients in the last days of life, and can offer support to their families too. They work closely with the staff on the ward to give compassionate support and comfort, listening to the patient and communicating any worries to staff.

As part of the awareness week, the Trust’s Palliative Care Team, Chaplaincy Team and Volunteers will be visiting all wards and the Emergency Department at University Hospital to promote the service to staff and patients.

Kristine Horne, Head of Voluntary Services, said: “We’ve had a great response to the service since it started in June 2016, and the team have supported more than 100 patients.

“We’ve had really heart-warming compliments from relatives and staff, who have commented on the importance, and benefits, of the service. We’ve had volunteers sing to patients and hold their hand to comfort them at the end of their life.

“Our compassionate volunteer companions offer vital support to our patients in the days and hours of their life. The volunteers also support the families providing periods of respite and reassurance for them knowing that their loved one is not alone.

“We are interested in hearing from other dedicated individuals who are interested in volunteering at their local hospital, and have lots of different roles available.”

If you’d like to know more about volunteering at University Hospital in Coventry, please contact Kristine Horne, Head of Voluntary Services on 02476 96 5146 or email