Seeing the benefits volunteers can bring

26th August 2018 | by Tracy Young

Tracy, Matron of Orthopaedics & Trauma at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, is seeing the benefits volunteers bring.

We think the volunteer service is making a huge difference to patients, but also the team. It gives us a spring in our step.

The volunteers are polite and friendly young people, and the feedback from the patients has been amazing. They refer to the volunteers such as James by name, and tell me he is a “lovely lad, and spent so much time talking and listening”. James has become a bit of an unsung hero, the patients he talks to perk up during and after his chats. A very polite and respectful young gentleman.

I have observed first hand over the last few weeks, a number of patients in single rooms with smiles on their faces, interacting with volunteers in such a positive way. Other staff, who happened to visit the ward during this time, have also asked about the project and are very impressed by it.

Ward 1 can be very busy, and the volunteers have slotted in nicely within the team. They focus on older people who do not have any company during visiting.

Three recent success stories:

  1. A lady who would not eat, sat at a table supported by a qualified staff member, and with the volunteers, interacted and ate and drank. We found out so much more about her life than we had known previously.
  2. A lady who had hypo delirium, by the end of the day, was playing dominoes with a young volunteer – and she thrashed him.
  3. We now have RITA on the ward (an electronic interactive device), and last week one gentleman with cognitive impairment asked to watch an old western movie with a volunteer.