Sometimes, our patients don’t need care, they just need a listening ear and a friend, and our team of Volunteer Home Sitters offer that service.
Volunteers, like Richard Emsden and Mary O’Sullivan, visit a patient’s home for an hour or two to keep them company and talk to them, offer a listening ear and to give their carer a break to pop out, run errands, or have some ‘me’ time.
Over the last few years the service has grown and there are now 12 volunteers giving up their time to visit a patient at home.
Mrs O’Sullivan, of Ipswich, said: “Being a home sitter appealed to me because you talk to the patient in their own home, in a non-medical setting, and they can talk about something other than their illness.
“I used to worry I wouldn’t have anything to talk to them about, but family is always a good conversation starter and you meet such interesting people, they’ve always got good stories to share.”
Mr Emsden, of Bildeston, visits three patients, he said: “I had retired and was looking for something to do and fill my time in a practical way and I stumbled across the Hospice’s advert for volunteer home sitters.
“I love it. It’s never boring and I’m always happy to go and see my patients. I’ve learnt so much, it extends your own mind into other experiences.
“It’s a lovely, privileged position to be in.”
The volunteer home sitting service is as important to the patients as it is to the carers as it allows them a much needed break for a couple of hours. Mr Emsden often takes one of his patients out for a few hours, so his wife can have some time at home to relax.