A stalwart of the hospice’s volunteers, Brian O’Neil has donated his time to help patients and families for 22 years.
He plays a crucial role, and is often the first face many people see when they visit the hospice at Carlton Place, as he mans the reception desk.
“The hospice is an inviting place. With the care of the patient and of the carers, friends and family who come to visit, you have to have a degree of empathy to be able to accommodate the needs of all people,” says the 66-year-old from Pollokshields, Glasgow.
“By working on reception I can release the porters to go and do their duties. I book people in when they arrive in the building and phone the wards to make sure patients are fit enough to see visitors.
“Some people like a happy, smiling person, others are very stressed when they come in. You have to be able to moderate your approach.
“I think the hospice is a refuge. The level of care and commitment of the staff is outstanding. Many people have the impression that once you go into the hospice your time is up. That’s not true. We see patients come in and get help with pain management, for example, and then go home. You shouldn’t see this place as the end point of life.”
Now retired after a career at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine, Brian says the prospect of a new home for the hospice being built in Bellahouston Park is very exciting.
“This is a lovely old building in a wonderful setting but the new hospice will offer better access and enhanced surroundings,” he adds.
“We are so lucky in this city that people are generous in their time and the money they raise.”
Brian says he enjoys volunteering because he feels he gets something back in return.
“I enjoy meeting all the people who come through the door. I get great feedback from visitors and patients. I enjoy the interaction with different people. I definitely get job satisfaction,” he says.
“Some people at the hospice touch you in ways you least expect. It is a privilege and I find it very rewarding.”
Find out how to volunteer at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.