Volunteer delivered befriending services have a beneficial impact on quality of life, loneliness and perceived social support.
Those were some of the key findings from the impact report: What is the impact of social action befriending services at the end of life? Evaluation of the End of Life Social Action Fund, published recently.
The research, which was carried out by a team from the International Observatory on End of life Care (IOELC), Lancaster University and the Institute for Volunteering Research examined volunteer delivered befriending services across 11 hospice, charity and NHS sites. Peace Hospice Care's Herts Neighbours Project was one of the hospice sites included in the research.
Findings of the research also found that more hours of contact with a volunteer appeared to be more beneficial for the patient, that befriending support appears to slow a decline in quality of life at the end of life and that people who were older, had cancer, who live alone and are male may be more likely to benefit.
Speaking about the evaluation, Jackie Tritton, Director of Patient Services, said:
"Our Herts Neighbours project continues to be a great success and we have seen, first hand, the impact of volunteer delivered befriending for patients at end of life. This research helps us to show the impact and benefits for our patients and carers, but also provides evidence to our health and social commissioner and future trust funds to encourage more support for, and investment in, this vital service."
Peace Hospice Care's Herts Neighbours service has supported 51 patients to date. Its volunteers provide an essential support to patients - providing a hand with jobs around the house, aiding patients in keeping in contact with friends and family, helping them get to appointments and providing befriending.
To read the full report, please go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/end-of-life-social-action-fund-evaluation
For more information about Herts Neighbours, please click here.
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