As well as volunteering on our ward (InPatient Unit) at Mountbatten Hospice, Denise Kilpatrick is also a Mountbatten Neighbour and continues to make weekly phone calls to the person she supports, as well as regularly leaving a roast dinner outside for them. This is Denise's story:

I started volunteering on the Inpatient Unit in October 2019 but wasn’t able to do more than a couple of shifts or so a week. However, when the dreaded Covid-19 hit, meaning some of our older and more ‘at risk’ volunteers were unable to come into the hospice, I was able to fill the vacant slots and I’m now doing six shifts each week. It’s just the most rewarding job I’ve ever done. 

I love talking to people and making them happy with little gestures. I know it means a lot to both patients and relatives to feel respected and genuinely cared for. For example, one elderly gentleman who had been in the ward for a little while became increasingly weak and unable to eat or even really drink. Before my shift ended one day, I took an ice lolly into him. He smiled, squeezed my hand and said “you’re the best”. He passed away later that night, but I had walked away from his room smiling, knowing in that small gesture that I had made someone’s final hours a little more comfortable and, more importantly I had made that person feel special. 

I have the hugest respect for the wonderful nurses and it’s a real privilege to be able to support them, particularly at the moment, by chatting to patients at a time when they may not be able to receive visitors because of the Covid-19 threat. 

I’m sure many of you wonderful volunteers are really missing the hospice and the amazing team spirit that exists there. I feel very lucky, but I truly hope you can all get back here soon. I know, because I hear it from many people here, that you are all really valued and missed.