Our Activities Co-ordinator Richard Smith offers a range of activities tailored to individual interests.
One day, he might be showing a patient how to draw a human face using shading pencil, another he might be making cornflake buns with the grandchildren of one of our patients. Most days, he’s the person the patient can have a chat with and help forget about their illness and manage their anxieties for a short while.
Part of his role involves legacy work. A patient may choose to make a legacy box and fill this with items that are important to themselves and their loved ones. Others may wish to make something bespoke to go into a memory box. He has taken patients’ fingerprints using inks, to create cards or family pictures.
As well as supporting our patients, he also supports the patient’s family members and friends, by providing something comforting to read, assisting with legacy work, or jointly composing a poem or a letter to their loved one.
On the ward, Richard stocks and replenishes the ‘Jolly Trolley’ with puzzles, books, CDs, art materials and magazines. This is available to patients and families 24-hrs a day, seven days a week and is accessed from the corridor outside the Chapel.
He produces a daily newspaper for the ward with stories sourced from the BBC News website. He also networks with Pets As Therapy volunteers and since the start of the summer, we’ve been having regular visits from Sue and Oliver, our yellow Labrador, and Joanne and Rufus, our golden retriever. The difference they make to the wellbeing of patients and their families is tangible.
Richard’s role involves liaising with the fundraising team over at St John’s Information Centre. He helps coordinate fundraising events including coffee mornings and similar celebrations at the Hospice. He also supports volunteers who offer their time at the Hospice and offer that important connection between the ward and the volunteer team.
Offering support, comfort, and enjoyment to people in their last months, weeks, and days of life is an honour and a privilege and a responsibility which Richard takes very seriously. In life, it is often the small things that make a huge difference. If he can improve a patient’s stay at the hospice in just a little way, he leaves work very happy.