Hello, my name is Geoff and I volunteer with the Financial Support Service within the Wellbeing Team at ellenor, providing support to patients, their carers and family. I retired more than four years ago after a long career in finance and accountancy, but I knew that after completing all those odd jobs around the house and garden I would need to do something with all that time on my hands, and felt volunteering could be something beneficial to both the community and, equally important, to myself. The opportunity to volunteer at ellenor seemed the ideal match of my background and skills and my desire to volunteer in the community – and so it has proved to be.
Financial Support at ellenor is now a team of four volunteers, with myself, Jane, Anne and Mike led by Russ Hargreaves, Head of Wellbeing, doing all we can to meet the financial needs of our patients, families and carers.
None of us expect to be faced with a diagnosis of a life limiting illness, and disease does not discriminate between rich and poor. So, many of our patients face their illnesses regardless of how much they have in the bank. Coupled with the fact that illness brings higher heating bills, increased journeys to hospital, parking costs, reduced earnings and so many more financial pressures, this can be a huge additional worry for patients and their families.
This is where ellenor’s Financial Support Service comes in. Based on referrals from our nurses and other ellenor care staff, our role is to maximise patient’s income and help them access benefits available to them. Often this means making a claim for Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, which involves liaising with the Department of Work and Pensions, making sure they have all the information they need to make a speedy payment to our patients. We also help to apply for Blue Badges for patients, basically anything which will lighten an already heavy load. Furthermore, we can signpost our patients and carers to other support and benefits that might be available e.g. carer’s allowance and pension credit.
We are passionate about what we do and, whilst none of us are financial experts or can offer financial advice, we are all determined to make sure our patients get what they are entitled to. After all, most have paid into a system all their lives and it brings great comfort to know that money is one less thing to worry about when we are sick.
Clearly, in these difficult and challenging times we are unable to provide our service face-to-face in the patient’s home or at the Hospice, and like much of the country we are all working from home. However, you should be reassured that ellenor’s Financial Support Service is continuing and, as far as possible, we will be providing a seamless service. The need to stay indoors during this time may create even more financial pressures for you, such as higher heating costs, making it even more important that we try and get benefits to those in need as soon as possible.
We are still here for you.
If you would like to find out more you can contact us on 01474 320007 and we will do our best to direct you to the right ellenor service for you.