Giving people a voice to influence positive change in health and social care

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Evolving Communities is looking for patients, their carers or family members to share their experiences on the services provided by a Wiltshire-based hospice.

by | Dec 18, 2018 | Evolving Communities Consultancy

A small user advisory group at Dorothy House Hospice Care has been run by Evolving Communities for the last two years.  Now in its third year, the group are on the lookout for more people to join to share their ideas on the care and support provided at the hospice.

Lucie Woodruff, from Evolving Communities, explained:

“The User Advisory Group is a forum of people who share their ideas on the care and support provided at Dorothy House Hospice Care.  These viewsare then fed back to the decision-makers in the charity to help shape future provision.


“This is a great opportunity for those who have used the hospice’s services to express their open and honest opinions. People can choose to get involved as and when it suits them or if there is a particular topic that’s of interest.”

Dorothy House Hospice Care supports people with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers across a large geographical area which includes Bath and North-East Somerset and parts of Wiltshire and Somerset.  Care and support is given at home, in the hospice at Winsley or at one of their two outreach centres in Trowbridge or Peasedown St John.

Evolving Communities has already run the group for two successful years and its latest report: Dorothy House User Advisory Group: Amplifying the voice of patients and their families includes the work and impact of the group.

Topics covered by the group include:

  • Patient information literature
  • Fundraising events
  • The concept of hospice funerals
  • Support for carers

Karen Tudge, Therapies Team Manager at Dorothy House Hospice Care, said:

“Recently the User Advisory Group has reviewed the needs of carers, what services we provide currently and whether these services provide our carers with the support they need at the right time and in the right way.


“The feedback gained will feed into the work that is being carried out in line with the Hospice’s strategy, to ensure that we are providing the right support without duplicating services or providing the wrong type of support.  We are also using the report to identify community support networks that we can work together with, in order to support our population of carers.”

Current volunteers encourage others to join

Former OFSTED inspector Elizabeth Price from Devizes is a volunteer on the Dorothy House User Advisory Group and wanted to be involved after her parents and in-laws used its services. Elizabeth said: “

The group are really valued by Dorothy House and we feel part of the team benefitting others. Everyone’s input is important, and the shared experiences support the further development of Dorothy House users.”

Retired headteacher Meg Newbery from North Bradley in Wiltshire joined the User Advisory Group (UAG) after the outreach team from Dorothy House provided support to her late-husband during the last few weeks of his life.  Meg said:

“The depth of compassion shown to him over that period was outstanding and it was only owing to their services that he was able to die peacefully at home with his family, for which we will always be thankful.


“It has made our loss more bearable.  However, there were some difficulties during that time so I was attracted to join the UAG to help improve the service and I felt there was a lot to learn from their example.


“The good things about the volunteer role are the benefits of feeling that you can be of use to the community, opportunities for both intellectual and emotional engagement, having a structure and purpose to your life and sharing a common commitment with other volunteers.  To those thinking of joining the group, as a recently joined member – I can say I have found it friendly, welcoming and purposeful.”

Retired ward sister Anne Keat, from Corsham in Wiltshire, also encourages people with experience of the hospice to join the group. She said:

“I have found all the volunteering roles I have undertaken very rewarding and quite challenging at times.  I certainly enjoy my involvement with the UAG.”

To find out how you can get involved contact Lucie at Evolving Communities on 01225 701851 or email  Or for more information on Dorothy House visit

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