Community

Exeter Leukaemia Fund’s home visiting service, ELF@Home aims to reduce loneliness through an offer of practical help, friendship, advice and support to patients (and their families) suffering with a blood borne cancer/disease and who are being treated in the Yarty Ward at Exeter’s RD&E hospital.

Originally the project was to support patients and their families who live throughout East Devon; however, due to positive feedback within the first year the decision was made to offer the service to all patients served by the Yarty Ward across Devon (and beyond).

ELF@Home’ s model of patient/family support sees local people undertake training to enable them to volunteer to support patients and their families in their own homes, ideally in their local community. ELF@Home volunteers have been responsible for improving patient experiences, improving mental well-being and connecting patients and their families with a whole range of additional services and support to aid their often-traumatic journeys. 

These wonderful ELF@Home volunteers are there when the road ahead is tough and help with the practical and emotional elements of dealing with blood cancers, but they often uncover ‘hidden’ issues which they help to resolve – simple things like sorting dental appointments, arranging assisted refuse collections or helping with the weekly shop.

MichaelVolunteer visit day is the best day of the week,

says Michael. Feb 2018

ELF@Home has been so successful that the charity is already looking to expand the service, recruiting more volunteers, and offering more to help those who are dealing with the devastating effects of blood cancer. In the next year, ELF wants to recruit more ELF@Home volunteers but also establish a HELP@Home service providing further support for small scale and individual practical tasks including IT help, light housework, decorating/household maintenance, dog walking/pet care and gardening. 

All these things may not seem like big tasks, but what ELF has discovered in the last year is that even a small offer of help can have a huge impact of emotional wellbeing and positive outlooks for the future. When the road ahead is tough, having a friend that will be there to talk, cry, laugh and just be simply stand alongside can make all the difference.

Anne FosterI can honestly say ELF@HOME is the medicine I needed long may it continue.

 Anne 2018Framed photo of two people sitting on a bench

If you are a caring individual with a few hours a week available, we would love to hear from you. ELF volunteers are provided with full training for this rewarding and fulfilling role.

To find out more about @Home, either to give your time as a volunteer, or if you would like one of our trained volunteers to help you around your home or be on the end of the phone, please contact Sue Rose, our @Home Community Support Service Manager, either by telephoning 07841 027228 or by emailing sue@elftcharity.org.uk.