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Spiritual Care Volunteer helps patient at the end of life

26 April 2023

Volunteering can make the world of difference – pictured here is Irene Wychrij, a Spiritual Care Volunteer who recently supported a patient on our Inpatient Unit to resolve an issue at the end of life.

Our Spiritual Care Volunteers help through listening, caring, understanding and connecting with patients, families and carers to support them throughout their hospice journey.

Recently, Irene visited a patient on our Inpatient Unit (IPU) receiving end of life care who was in distress about her funeral arrangements, as she was worried her wishes would not be met due to family complications.

Irene decided to try and help ease the patient’s worries by speaking to our Social Team. They advised that the patient could fill in a form clearly explaining her wishes for her funeral. This required a witness – the patient had no one to call on to be her witness, and members of staff are not allowed to do this.

Shakila Chowdhury, Spiritual Care Coordinator, says Irene’s work to remedy this difficult situation was crucial in helping the patient feel at ease.

She explains: “Irene came to ask for guidance on the difficulty of getting a witness. After some thought, we decided to call on the church minister where the patient would like her funeral service to take place as her faith is very important to her.

“Our Lead Nurse on the IPU, Alison Breakwell, was also instrumental in reaching out to the minister and arranging a visit so quickly.

“The minister was more than happy to help and came into the ward to witness the document being signed. She took a copy and reassured the patient she will personally perform her funeral service and ensure all her wishes are met.

“The patient was so concerned over this that she held back having medication in order to have clarity of mind to write her wishes. She desperately needed a resolution to feel at peace. We were able to address this need within 24 hours.

“I really want to thank Irene for the brilliant work she did in picking up and exploring the worries of this patient and then working to resolve them.”

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering, visit