St Christopher’s Hospice, 51-59 Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham, London, SE26 6DZ


Our Ward Assistant shifts are: 10:30am-2pm & 4pm-7:30pm. Seven days a week.

Ideally we’d like you to do a shift a week. We currently have limited daytime shifts during the week. However, we do urgently need help on evenings and weekends

Our Patient and Family Support Volunteers take part in a training course which is quite an investment, so ideally you would be able to stay with us for a year after the training is complete – we’d love you to stay longer!


St Christopher’s Hospice was founded in 1967 by Dame Cicely Saunders and formed part of the modern hospice movement. Proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary and with a turnover of over £20 million, we provide invaluable care and support to over 6,000 people across the five London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark.

Purpose/Objective of the Role

Patients, their families and carers tell us that coping with the practicalities, feelings and questions which arise when facing a life limiting condition is challenging. As a Ward Assistant, you will offer support alongside our staff to provide a caring and reassuring experience to those who are admitted into our inpatient unit, as well as their families and friends. Many patients and families welcome the opportunity for social interaction with a non-medical professional.

You will play a huge part in helping us to achieve our vision, in which all dying people and those close to them have access to care and support, whenever and wherever they need it.

Tasks/Duties Involved

Assist with feeding and drinking

  • Meet and greet patients and/or visitors
  • Replace water in vases
  • Fill water jugs, serve tea, coffee and alcohol, making conversation as you do so.
  • Provide hand massage (ONLY after you have attended the specialist training)
  • Some personal grooming such as hair styling, applying make-up/nail varnish and face shaving, making conversation as you do so.
  • Answer telephone
  • Destroy medicine (ONLY after specific training)
  • Passing the time with activities such as playing board games
  • Taking food orders and serving meals, making conversation as you do so.
  • Providing social interaction, a listening ear & a friendly face i.e. having a chat with both patients and families
  • Accompanying patients to our garden or to the Anniversary Centre for well-being activities.
  • Promoting other services e.g. bereavement support for a family member
  • Opportunity to help in the Anniversary Centre to provide cover as and when needed.

We ask that our hospice based Patient and Family Support Volunteers are flexible and able to support across a range of areas as needed. This will be discussed with you individually

Skills Required 

Compassionate listener and clear communicator

  • Good at building rapport, engaging in conversation and meeting lots of people
  • Be comfortable using own initiative and know when to seek support
  • Emotional resilience in the face of the difficult circumstances that can affect people at end of life
  • Ability to respect others’ differences and choices
  • Ability to follow our policies and procedures to keep you, patients and families and staff safe
  • Ability to represent St Christopher’s and our values positively
  • Willingness to learn, adapt and embrace change when needed

Training/Support Given

You will be asked to attend our Patient and Family Support Volunteers training course which is two full days. The next course is 7/8 February 2019.

  • We will ask you to attend 3 support activities a year consisting of a Peer Support group or a Schwartz Round
  • Ongoing training in other areas such as Motor Neurone Disease and hand massage will be offered throughout the year
  • On the day support from Nurses, Ward Administrators, Orderlies and Healthcare Assistants
  • To know that you can contact The Volunteering Team for support or with questions at any time during working hours

Benefits of Volunteering to Individual

Join an enthusiastic team of people and get more involved in your local community

  • Use and develop your caring, communication and team work skills, enhancing your CV
  • Enhancing understanding of health and social care and hospices
  • Know you are helping people in your local community have access to care and support, whenever and wherever they need it.

Next Steps

Complete our online Patient and Family Support Volunteer application form, which is on our website here: http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/volunteer_role/patient-and-family-support-volunteer  – please complete by Friday 1st February

If you would like a hard copy application form please telephone 020 8768 4669 to request one.

  • The volunteer role will be agreed with you following successful completion of an interview, mandatory training, references obtained and a DBS check
  • There is a short settling in period to see if the role is right for you

If you are keen to volunteer in this role, but have had a bereavement less than 12 months ago, contact the volunteering team on 020 8768 4669 or volunteering@stchristophers.org.uk to discuss further.

Application Process

To register your interest, please complete the Volunteer Registration Form . If you have any questions call Aparna on 07378342131