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Dying Matters Week – new volunteers supporting enhanced end-of-life care

07 May 2024 - Press Release

 

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust is pledging to support enhanced care for those nearing the end of life, and their loved ones, during National Dying Matters Awareness Week, 6th  – 12th May 2024.

New specialist volunteers, SWAN Companions, will be part of the new SWAN Model of Care being launched at the trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital and community NHS services in Stockport. 

The SWAN Model is part of a national programme for NHS and other care staff, to support and guide a consistently high standard of care for patients and their families and carers during the last days and hours of life, and after death.

It means creating the best possible environment and surroundings for them during these sad and difficult times, and providing compassionate and personalised care while respecting wishes and needs.  

Implementing the SWAN Model has included developing and distributing new ward resources and patient information leaflets, and sourcing sensitive memory-making packs and comfort packs which are offered to families and carers.

These packs are personalised to the specific needs of each family, but may contain a canvas property bag, sympathy cards, jewellery boxes, and organza pouches for locks of hair and finger or handprint kits.

The model also includes SWAN signage to be displayed on wards to ensure staff are aware and can help support a suitable environment. Awareness of this and other aspects of the model are being promoted for staff and volunteers both during Dying Matters Awareness week and beyond.

SWAN Companions are also a key part of the new support. These new specialist volunteers provide one to one companionship at the hospital bedside for those in the last days and hours of life, and to offer respite for families and carers.  

Many of the SWAN Companions have experience of bereavement themselves and combine these experiences with their training from the trust’s end-of-life care staff to offer the support people need.  

Nic Firth, Chief Nurse for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said “Providing care for people in the last days and hours of their life is a unique and humbling experience, and it is our responsibility to provide the best and most compassionate care we can for patients and their loved ones. The SWAN model will help us to ensure we can provide this.  We particularly welcome our new SWAN Companions, specialist volunteers, and would like to thank them for the new and invaluable support they will be giving.”

While the first group of SWAN Companions are now in place, the trust is keen to recruit new volunteers for future cohorts. If you would be interested in joining, then contact the trust volunteer team on 0161 419 5400. 

 

The SWAN volunteers read to provide new end-of-life support



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© Stockport NHS Foundation Trust 2024. Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport, SK2 7JE. 0161 483 1010