Surjit is a valued volunteer at our Warwick Myton Hospice Inpatient Unit, offering Advance Care Planning to patients and their families.
As a GP in Coventry, Surjit took early retirement in 2020 and wanted to volunteer at a variety of local organisations.
Remembering our Community Engagement Manager at The Myton Hospices attended her GP practice to provide some literature on our services, Surjit jumped at the chance to volunteer at Myton.
After several conversations with Dr Sarah MacLaran, Medical Director at The Myton Hospices, they decided that Surjit’s skills would be best utilised on our Inpatient Unit talking to patients and their families about their Advance Care Planning preferences.
I loved working as a GP, it was a relatively small practice so we were close to our patients. When the pandemic hit and all we could do were phone appointments and video calls, it took the fun and the meaning out of what I was doing.
Having the opportunity to volunteer at Myton was meant to be. Sarah was so passionate about creating this role for me and I was so grateful to be a part of it all.
Advance Care Planning is something that all patients deserve, yet don’t always have the luxury of. It can be time consuming for doctors and nurses to put in place so I am so glad patients at Myton have this opportunity.
My role entails having conversations with patients about what is important to them, what their priorities are and what they would like from their last days.
It’s a very holistic approach and whilst it does take their medical conditions into account, it also includes their personal needs and desires as well.
As every patient is different, the conversations I have vary. Everyone has different things that are important to them and need considering when they are at Myton.
Some do equate Advance Care Planning to end-of-life planning, which isn’t the case.
We call it a gift to the family, as it allows everyone to be on the same page and have the mutual understanding of what the patient wants and needs.
Surjit volunteers every Monday morning, talking to each patient about their plans.
Not only does she volunteer at Myton, she is also a chaplaincy volunteer at Warwick Hospital, an Inpatient volunteer at a rehabilitation hospital in Leamington and also works at her local temple.
Surjit gushes praise for her role and the team at Myton, saying:
I love the patient contact. Being able to be face to face again and having a positive impact means a lot.
I can spend hours and hours talking to them about their needs and desires. Even if they aren’t receptive to Advance Care Planning, just having a general conversation can have a great difference, especially when I first started during the pandemic and visitations were limited.
Patients and loved ones are often scared – they’re vulnerable and fragile and just need to talk. I feel very privileged that I can do that.
As I have medical knowledge, I have some understanding of different conditions so can provide tailored advice towards their Advance Care Plan.
Everyone I’ve spoken to has such kind words to say about the staff and volunteers at Myton.
When they hear they are going to a hospice, usually they think they are going to die, but we do so much more than that. With a variety of services, like symptom management and therapy, it’s reassuring to patients to know this isn’t just a place to die.
Myton works as a team. The services provided allow the patient to be seen as a whole, not just their medical condition.
From the nurses and doctors, to the physiotherapists and chaplaincy team, it only works because of the whole team.
Join us in celebrating Hospice Care Week!