Our ward volunteers are involved in a range of activities alongside our paid staff including:
A secondary focus is for volunteers to assist during meal times; tasks would involve assisting the patients to sit down and eat together at a communal dining area & encouraging them to eat and drink. Prior to mealtimes, volunteers can assist with implementing good practice in hand hygiene; assist by laying out mats, cutlery etc.
If you would like more information on volunteering within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde please click here.
Anne Stewart and Anne Hepburn, Ward Volunteers, Inverclyde Royal Hospital, Greenock
Anne Stewart and Anne Hepburn are affectionately known as the ‘Two Annes’ on their ward at the Inverclyde Royal. Both worked in the NHS until retirement and have a strong connection with the hospital.
After a couple of years at the tea bar, Anne H was ready to take on another role and saw a local advertisement for Ward Volunteering opportunities in a local health centre. The Annes’ come as a pair and so the ward was lucky enough to get both volunteers together; they joined in January 2015 and have been regularly volunteering every Tuesday since.
Ward volunteering was a new initiative on this particular ward and the Annes’ have laid the foundations and firmly established volunteering on their ward. Anne H recalls that in the early days, “We did get a couple of folk asking what our role was, but as soon as we explained what we could and couldn’t help with, they were very welcoming.”
The main purpose of their role is a social one, in which they can spend time with patients who are isolated or who may not receive any visitors.
However the volunteers also help out at mealtimes, providing verbal encouragement and support or helping patients with tasks such as cutting up their food, or de cluttering the tables so that patients can concentrate on their meal. The volunteers can also help ensure that the patients are hydrated, by filling up their water and can even make tea for the patients if they want a cup outwith the scheduled tea break.
Anne explains “We’re not able to administer food, but we can encourage people to try and eat a bit more and we remind them that they need to eat in order to get better.” The volunteers use a variety of approaches to encourage the patients to get the most out of their meal, gently prompting them to eat whilst their food is hot. On one occasion a patient said they did not feel like their soup; Anne H persuaded them to have a little, saying “ If you eat your soup, then you’re getting all your vegetables and vitamins, you’ll build yourself up to go home.”
The Annes’ get a lot of enjoyment from their role and feel that they are making a difference to the patients – they are a valued and integral part of the ward team and are even joining the staff on their Christmas night out!