Care beyond the walls

PUBLISHED: 11:29 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 06 May 2010

Volunteer services manager Wendy burns (centre) with Grove House at Home volunteers Terry Parissis (left) and Loretta Berryman

Volunteer services manager Wendy burns (centre) with Grove House at Home volunteers Terry Parissis (left) and Loretta Berryman

GROVE House services extend way beyond the walls of the hospice building in Waverley Road, St Albans. Grove House at Home offers befriending, home sitting and complementary therapies to people living with cancer and life-threatening illness. The service i

GROVE House services extend way beyond the walls of the hospice building in Waverley Road, St Albans.

Grove House at Home offers befriending, home sitting and complementary therapies to people living with cancer and life-threatening illness.

The service is delivered by a dedicated team of volunteers who have all been trained at Grove House and checked by the Criminal Records Bureau.

Loretta Berryman of St Albans is one such volunteer and has been visiting people in their own homes since the service was launched a little over four years ago.

Loretta explained: "I usually visit people on a regular, weekly basis at their convenience. Everyone's needs are different; sometimes I might do some shopping or collect prescriptions, sometimes I help with hospital visits and other outings and sometimes we just sit and chat.

"Most importantly I try and build a trusting, friendly relationship with the people I visit. You can't change someone's diagnosis but you can make their journey easier."

She went on: "I really enjoy my role as a befriender. I love meeting new people; they are all so special and interesting. I find each visit very rewarding.

"I remember one lovely lady who I visited for over two years. I got to know her very well and as she gradually became more ill she began to lose her ability to speak. Because of the relationship we had built up we were still able to communicate through her eye movements."

The service can benefit carers too. Volunteers are always happy to sit with patients to allow carers to get out for a couple of hours. Sometimes carers might not want to go out but they might use the time to catch up or even have a long-relaxing bath, happy in the knowledge that the patient is being well looked after."

The Hospice at Home Service is available to anyone in St Albans, Harpenden and Dacorum and to find out more call Suzie Calverley on 01727 731011. Referrals are also welcome from doctors and other health care professionals.

To volunteer to become a Hospice at Home visitor, contact Wendy or Lina on 01727 731020 or visit www.grove-house.org.uk

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Herts Advertiser