Former nurse Liz Burns became a Blythe House Community Volunteer in 2018, supporting patients in the comfort of their own homes with light tasks and companionship. Here, Liz has taken the time to write a blog about the volunteer work she’s been undertaking during the coronavirus pandemic, including supporting hospice patients and members of our local community…

Since the coronavirus outbreak and the adaptation of our roles to support people in the wider community, I am currently supporting three people – usually on different days, but occasionally two visits can occur on the same day.

Liz outside The Christie

An account of one such day – My first job was to take a patient to The Christie Hospital. After checking my bag and cleaning the contact areas of the car, I drove to the address, putting on my gloves and mask before arrival. We have been getting to know each other over the previous few weeks and during the drive to The Christie we chatted – the car is quite an intimate space and not being in direct eye contact can sometimes be less intimidating. The conversation flowed – we talked about ‘this and that’ – gardening, how life has changed since the pandemic, shopping, thoughts about illness, treatments and practicalities, the wonderful Spring that we had been having… I dropped the patient off at the entrance and went to the car park where I was amongst many other drivers in their cars waiting for their person – quite a community really… On this occasion, the appointment was short and we were soon on our return journey.

After saying goodbye, I had a short break before wiping down the car again and set off for the next assignment. This person who lives alone has been ‘shielding’ due to an existing illness that would make them particularly susceptible to Covid-19. This has caused a practical issue that their young dog was not able to get his usual walks. A great job for a dog lover and he is an absolute delight who just loves to be out – as they say it is a ‘Win-Win’ for all three of us! On our return as I am cleaning his harness and lead it was time to chat with the person in the garden – hopefully bringing the everyday in and sharing our love of dogs has helped to make what is a pretty isolated time just a little less so.