Association Visitors (AVs) are volunteers working for the MND Association, who have an important and unique role in supporting people with (pw)MND and their families by ensuring they receive the support and service they require. AVs offer free and confidential emotional support and information about the Association and other services that help people make informed choices.
Key AV tasks:
1. Maintain contact through visits, phone, email or social media.
2. Explain support and services offered by the Association, Social Services and other providers.
3. Liaise with healthcare and social care professionals on behalf of the pwMND.
4. Often help pwMND to identify problems at their onset and explore how these might be managed – making referrals to healthcare professionals etc. as and when needed.
5. Work is confidential.
The above offers a description of the AV role but it is important to highlight the fact that AV's come from many walks of life, e.g. previously having worked as healthcare professionals (often working with pwMND), others have experience of MND through family or friends and some want to offer their time and energies to a charity of their choice.
AV Judy Keay said: "I fall into the category of having firsthand experience of MND as my husband died 8 years’ ago after living with the disease for 14 months. A year later I joined the E. Kent Group and a further year on I was asked to train as an AV as there were, at that time, no AVs covering the whole 800sq.miles of E. Kent. I completed my rigorous, government award-winning training in the latter part of 2012 and visited my first pwMND in January 2013.
I work closely with Chrissie Batts and Amy Roberts our very special Specialist Nurses. There are times when it is important I refer to Chrissie and other times when I can sort things myself thus saving time for all concerned. Throughout the time my husband was living with MND, I learnt to battle for a whole host of things that were his right. This is still a useful tool but, alongside this is the emotional support I am able to give to the pwMND and their family. Yes, we talk about the disease, any progression, questions, worries, etc. Some of the visit time is often spent on discussions of other everyday things and, over the years, I have learned much about art, gardening, football from another Man U fan!"