THE Forever Friends Appeal has been awarded close to £80,000 from The Sperring Trust to fund an innovative three year pilot project designed to support end of life care at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath.

The Compassionate Companions Project will provide companionship support to patients, ensuring no-one spends their final days alone and in an unfamiliar environment. It will be delivered in partnership with RUH’s Palliative Care Team and Dorothy House Hospice Care.

Edward Hassall, trusts and foundations officer with The Forever Friends Appeal said: “Thanks to this significant grant from the Sperring Trust patients nearing their final days will have a companion with them, which we hope will help make a real difference to them and their families.”

The money will enable a new companion support worker role with Dorothy House Hospice Care to support co-ordination of volunteers at the RUH. These volunteers will provide compassionate companionship to patients during their last days or hours of life on the hospital wards, so also helping families by relieving the worry that relatives will be left alone.

Helen Meehan, Lead Palliative and End of Life Care Nurse and Project Lead, RUH said: “We are so grateful to The Sperring Trust for choosing to support this much needed companionship service for our patients. This means that thousands of hours of volunteer time will be given to patients on our wards, seven days a week.

“Caring for people nearing the end of life is one of the most important things we do in hospital as well as being able give respite support to patients’ families so that loved ones can recuperate during what is an emotionally and physically exhausting time.

“Often the last sense patients lose during end of life care is their hearing. Being able to provide a compassionate companion during their final days or hours to read to them, provide comforting words

or hold their hand is very much the support these patients need at this time.”

Michelle Jorden, administrator of the Midsomer Norton-based Trust said: “The trustees are very happy to support such a worthy project. Ralph left his estate in trust to benefit the local community and we are delighted to help make his wishes possible as this project will have a big impact on so many people. We look forward to working with The Forever Friends Appeal.”