For the last twelve years Maria has volunteered at Rugby Myton Day Hospice once a week, working alongside the nursing staff helping patients to relax, socialise and enjoy their day. She was nominated for the Long Service Award at The Pride of Rugby Awards for her work with Rugby Myton Hospice, and although she wasn’t crowned the winner on the night we think Maria is the pride of Myton!
When asked about Maria the team at Rugby Myton Hospice said :
Maria has rarely missed a session, helping with the meal service at lunchtime, providing refreshments in the afternoon and talking to patients – all of whom have a life limiting, non-curative illness, and many with complex needs. Maria is a fantastic listener and helps to make an extremely difficult time for patients more manageable.
To volunteer at a hospice is a huge commitment and can, at times, be very emotionally demanding but still Maria wanted to do more for Myton, and its patients and families.
In 2013 The Myton Hospices extended its Myton at Home service, which provides end of life care in the community for those that want to die at home, to include a Volunteer Sitting Service. This sitting service works alongside existing nursing provision to enhance the quality of life for both the patient and the carer through regular planned visits to support people in their own homes.
Maria leapt at the chance to be part of this new service in Rugby, to put her people, and communication skills to good use. In Maria’s words, she likes “letting people talk about their life” and listening to patients to enable them to “celebrate life, not illness”. She sits with patients in their own homes in order to give their families a break for a couple of hours each week over a six week period. The difference that this makes to the family and the patient is immeasurable, the family can take a bit of time out or the time they need to attend an appointment or go shopping safe in the knowledge that their loved one is not alone.
Maria will read to the patient, talk to them, or if they are well enough will play a game of cards or do a jigsaw with them – Maria is there for them and provides companionship and friendship.
Her friendly, calm nature led to one patient in particular, Lily, opening up about her life and experiences.Lily was a patient being cared for by the Myton at Home team in Rugby. Her husband Albert had died several years earlier and Lily had one last wish – she wanted to hear the words of her husband again before she died and asked Maria to read her dozens of old letters written to her while they were courting.
So touched was Maria and Myton by this story that an animated film Love Letters inspired by Lily and Albert was created to show the difference dedicated care can make. The film shows Lily reliving her memories and has received a very emotional response from Myton staff, patients, relatives and volunteers.”