Teams at Glasgow Royal Infirmary have been putting their skills to good use to keep patients both informed and entertained during Covid-19 times.
Normally much of the time hospital volunteers spend with patients is face-to-face but that has had to stop completely in the last few months, meaning the whole volunteers programme needed to be re-developed.
Voluntary Service Manager Louise Colquhoun explained: “In ‘normal’ times, our volunteers are with patients in the wards, organising activities, as well as bigger events like our highly-popular Dementia Cafes.
“That’s obviously had to stop for now and we needed to look at new ways of interacting with patients, while keeping everyone safe.
“Our older people’s Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist Lynsey McKee came up with a great idea of doing a daily newspaper for the Royal.
“The aim was to bring back memories and provide stimulation as well as to support conversations with patients on the wards. Lynsey approached the volunteer service to see if the volunteers could help with producing this. It all worked out so well as one of the volunteers, Elliot Shaw is a very talented artist, who studies at the Glasgow School of Art.”
And so, the Hospital Times was born, a simple, cheery newsletter which is distributed on weekdays throughout NHSGGC - with the circulation list growing by the day!
Louise added: “This little paper is an indirect way to try and help patient mood and add some positive distraction. It has already facilitated chat, given a few laughs and the little quiz can help with stimulation.
“One of the first few editions had the “jeely piece song” in it – the occupational therapy team noticed this led to an outburst of singing on the wards and amazingly it even had verses! There have also been some discussion between patients over the quiz questions and answers. You can’t beat that for patient-centred care.
“Quickly, more volunteers – Hannah, Ellen and Kirsten – all joined in and have been contributing.”
One patient, Harriet said: “I’ve been reading it every day and enjoying it – it gives me something different to do. The puzzles are helping keep my brain stimulated and the stories are always happy and make me feel connected with the outside world.”
Lynsey McKee said: “The older people’s occupational therapy team have also been sourcing items to be included and support with distributing the paper. They have also been using the paper during therapy sessions to develop relationships and reduce anxiety.
“When we developed this we wanted to make a difference to patients. However, we could not have anticipated that it would have been so well received and we are delighted that it’s having a positive impact during a challenging time”.