Ward volunteers are allocated to specific wards where they build a rapport with staff and patients, especially those who are hospitalised longer-term and those who are lonely, isolated or anxious. Ward volunteers work in pairs and introduce themselves to each patient on the ward. They help the housekeeping staff provide each patient with a hot drink of their choice.
There are plenty of opportunities to spend time with individual patients, sometimes just talking and listening, or engaging in an activity such as playing cards or dominoes. Often volunteers will shop for small items in the concourse and volunteers who have been trained to do so may take patients who use a wheelchair out into the gardens or the shops in the concourse.
At lunchtimes, Ward volunteers join with staff to assist patients by giving out hand wipes, clearing the bedside tables and talking about the meal to come. They also help staff to hand out the meals and provide that 'extra something' to encourage patients with poor appetites to eat, for example, providing extra items of cutlery or condiments, offering a smile and a friendly word.
We believe it is vital for patients to be as independent as possible in hospital and volunteers support this by ensuring patients have everything they need to eat independently. Ward volunteers may also be trained to assist patients to complete the 'friends and family' survey using an ipad, a valuable way to gain feedback on the service we provide.
The aim is to reduce social isolation, loneliness and boredom for patients and to ensure they have all they need at mealtimes, including individual attention and encouragement. Frail elderly patients are most in need of the services of ward volunteers and our priority placements are therefore the care of the elderly wards.
Ward volunteers enjoy talking to people, are comfortable in the busy ward environment and able to understand and adhere to set boundaries. This role requires confidence and an ability to engage, so good listening skills and an ability to take conversational cues from others are vital. Volunteers can be working in areas with very sick patients so a degree of emotional resilience is necessary. Volunteers are provided with a red polo shirt to wear.
All volunteers undertake two elements to mandatory induction, an e-learning element and a face to face session lasting four hours. The face to face sessions run twice a month.
In addition, within three months of starting their volunteering, volunteers are required to attend Dementia awareness training & Nutrition awareness training.
New volunteers are allocated a mentor to work alongside them for their first two sessions - longer if required. Support will be provided by the ward staff and voluntary services.Register your interest
You will be redirected to the Volunteer Essex website
Between these dates: 06/03/2019 - 06/03/2020
On these days: