human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Brunch in the palliative care unit

YoungCaritas Luxembourg

A doctor responsible for a palliative care unit in a Luxembourgish hospital regarded the time spent in the Palliative Care Department as a stage of life, even if though it is the last one. Thus, YoungCaritas Luxembourg responded with the idea of a brunch, in order for young people to visit, to bring joy and even a bit of creative chaos to the palliative care unit.

A very easy way to make people rejoice and to learn a lot about life!

Moreno, a 21 year old volunteer

Who is involved?

  • 6-10 young people can sign up via the YoungCaritas Luxembourg homepage and do not have to be exclusively members of YoungCaritas;
  • An adult leader gathers and accompanies the young people for and during the activity;
  • 2 adult volunteers from another volunteering organisation, who are trained to meet the patients in their room;
  • 2 hospital staff members (nurses);
  • The doctor responsible for the palliative care unit.

Resources needed

  • A webpage for project publicity and where young people can sign up plus email addresses for communication with the young people;
  • The hospital and its palliative care unit as a partner who share the responsibility with YoungCaritas and provide all the ingredients for the brunch.

Content description

Once a month, on a Saturday, a youth group of 6-10 youngsters go, for 4 hours, to the palliative care department of a hospital in the Luxembourg capital. At the request of the doctor responsible, they prepare a brunch for the patients, their families and the staff and provide it in the meeting room. Palliative care is a sensitive matter, but as the brunch takes place in the common meeting room, the young people do not meet the very ill patients, which the young people would not be equipped for. During the first hour the young people prepare the tables and the meal, make pancakes and biscuits. During the next two hours the patients, their families and the staff members (up to 15-20 people in total) join in, and share brunch in a very relaxed atmosphere. Young people do not only prepare the brunch, but also talk, interact and socialise with the people present. Sometimes the young people bring musical instruments and play some music for the patients. At the end, the young people clean up the brunch and return home with an unforgettable experience.

I come nearly every month because I like to be useful!

Maria, a 17 year old volunteer

Lessons learned

Projects can be very simple, the main point is to make people happy. Young people deal very well with more sensitive situations. Much of this project depends on the goodwill of the staff, and the help of another adult volunteering organisation which also visits the patients in their rooms. It is crucial to find good partners to work with. Young people need to be briefly introduced to the nature and purpose of a palliative care unit, although the main point is their solidarity for the people, not the place. But it could happen that a young person could feel overwhelmed.

Project snapshot

  • Budget: €100 every month.
  • People: 10 volunteers + 2 staff members + 10-20 patients.
  • Time: 2 days every month.
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Paul Galles

Former coordinator of social volunteering at YoungCaritas Luxembourg and YoungCaritas in Europe

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