If you’re towards the last year of your life, you’re caring for someone who is, you might be finding it difficult. You might be worried and upset, feel lonely and isolated, or you might be worried about the people you’re closest to. Our community befriending service has been set up to support you and the people closest to you.
Please note that this service is not for people living with dementia. However, we do offer a separate Community Dementia Companions Service. Please visit our Dementia Support page to find out more.
What’s the purpose of the service?
This service supports patients or carers (often both). It’s designed to be flexible, responding to your needs, with visits from one of our team of volunteers. The visits would be primarily social (social group or other service in your area, out for a coffee or a walk, and sometimes helping you navigate the often confusing medical and social care services you’re dealing with). We can often help out with practical tasks too (prescription pick up, shopping). Our aim is to help you feel less isolated and more supported with the forming of a warm relationship with one of our volunteers.
Who can be referred?
Anyone who’s toward the last year of life, whose primary diagnosis isn’t dementia (please visit Dementia Support to find out about our dementia services), their main carer, or on occasion, people who have been recently bereaved and need support (this isn’t counselling though!). You don’t need to be an existing patient of the Hospice. Also, anyone who is the primary carer for someone in the last year of life can be referred. We may be able to take referrals for people who have a secondary diagnosis of dementia.
Because our befrienders are caring neighbours rather than trained clinical professionals, we can’t move people, give medication or offer personal care.
How can I get a referral?
Service users need a health and social care profressional to make a referral for them. This could be a Macmillan nurse, District nurse, Social worker, Care co-ordinator, Social prescriber or any health and social profressional to have contact with you. The referral form is at the bottom of the page, so they can easily do that.
How does the service work?
When we get a referral, we’ll call to talk a bit more about what you’re looking for. Then when we think we can find you a befriender, we’ll come and meet you in your home, to make sure we get to know you and to talk through both the possibilities, and the boundaries, of the service. This means that when we pair you up, it’ll be with someone we think you’ll get on well with.
The Hospice will keep in touch with you to make sure you remain happy with the match and the service, and if there is any way we can improve it for you.
The befriender will be there for you throughout the journey of this next stage of your life for as long as you (and your carers if appropriate) need them.
Who are the befrienders?
Our befrienders are people from all walks of life, with the common denominator that they are good listeners, and caring people who want to make a difference in their communities.
We recruit our befrienders with as much rigour as we recruit our staff. All are interviewed, referenced, DBS checked, and have undergone extensive training.
If you have any questions at all, you can call Helena Smith, community befriending lead on 01625 664984, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a health and social care professional and would like to refer, please click here.