Families facing death and bereavement at St Mary’s Hospital now have access to specially trained volunteers from Mountbatten, who can offer dedicated time to support people during this challenging time.

The ‘end of life care companions’ have been carefully selected and given comprehensive training by experts in end of life care at Mountbatten, who is working with the Isle of Wight NHS Trust to improve support to people in the hospital who are dying, as well as to their loved ones.

Liz Arnold, Director of Nursing at Mountbatten, said:

“It is recognised that ensuring one-to-one, dedicated support for patients who die in hospital can be challenging in such a busy environment. By training our volunteers in areas including communication skills and bereavement support, we hope to be able to offer comfort, reassurance and a listening ear to both patients and their families. Through our volunteers, we are also able to explain more about our specialist bereavement service which is open to anyone, wherever a death may have occurred.”

Shane Moody, the trust’s Clinical Director for End of Life Care and Consultant Nurse for Critical Care and End of Life Care said:

“Thanks to working in partnership with Mountbatten, we are able to provide this new service within the acute hospital giving us another source of support for those at end of life and their families.   If the scheme proves successful then we aim to recruit more End of Life Care Companions.”

Families or patients who feel they would like a companion to support them during their stay at St Mary’s Hospital should speak to a member of staff on the ward, who will then contact the Integrated Palliative and End of Life Care Team, which is on hand from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

For further information contact the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Communications & Engagement Team on 01983-822099 ext. 6175.

Further information about health services can be found at www.iow.nhs.uk or www.nhs.uk.