Volunteers at the heart of our Lymphoedema Service

Did you know that in 2021, we won Hospice UK’s, Innovation in Care Award for the joint efforts between our Lymphoedema Service and the Volunteering Department?

The award recognised how the Hospice had gone over and above during the pandemic, to support Lymphoedema patients. Jill Lisle, Senior Sister explains:

“Our Lymphoedema Team had to hugely adapt services to meet patient needs during Covid-19. Changing our service to a much more home based model was completely new to us and we had to quickly react to recruit new volunteers to support staff going in to patient homes.”

Talking about the award, Jill, added:

“Without volunteer support during Covid-19 we simply wouldn’t have been able to maintain services during the pandemic. Winning the Innovation in Care Award was a fantastic recognition of all the hard work from staff and volunteers and a great boost to the team.”

Volunteering remains a key objective at St Oswald’s Hospice, to help deliver and innovate services. We really couldn’t provide the specialist care we do without the support of our fantastic Lymphoedema Volunteers – whether in our Outpatient Department or out in the community.

Karen Ashtiani, is one of those volunteers. The pandemic also brought a chance for Karen to reflect and think about making changes in her own life – she decided to embark on a career change from marketing to Speech and Language Therapy. As part of this journey, she began volunteering with our Lymphoedema Service in May 2022.

Karen said:

“I had been aware of the Hospice for a long time but didn’t really know much about it and the amazing work it does for so many different people – until I was looking for somewhere to volunteer to help gain experience of working in a clinical environment.”

Talking about her experience so far, Karen said:

“I was unsure of what to expect at first, as it’s very different to my previous role in marketing! Everyone here has been very supportive and kind, so I quickly grew in confidence knowing there was a strong support network there for me.”

Karen added:

“St Oswald’s Hospice is nothing like I thought it would be. It’s a very happy and joyous place. I love meeting the patients, some who I see week after week and have started to build relationships with. I help with washing the patient’s limbs, applying creams and providing support to patients and the clinical practitioners.

“Every week here is different. For example, I’ve been on home visits for patients that are quite poorly.”

Karen has been impressed by the life-changing service the Lymphoedema Team provide:

“The more time you spend in the Hospice, the more you see how much it is needed, what a difference it can make to the lives of the patients and their families and how brilliant all of the people who work here are.”

We would like to say a huge thank you to Karen and all our Lymphoedema volunteers for everything they do for the Lymphoedema Team!

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