As part of the service, specially trained volunteers work with patients to record their life stories in biography.
Vivienne explains: “We want the dying person to be in charge of what they express. It is not unusual to hear the words: ‘My life is not interesting to anyone else. I can’t think of anything to say.’ Then, with rapport established and the ability of the volunteer biographer to truly listen, people are often surprised by the memories and experiences that pour forth.”
Vivienne, who coordinates the biography service, has also written an article about training volunteer hospice biographers, which has been published in the July/August edition of the European Journal of Palliative Care.