Despite the variety of circumstances that bring people to hospital our volunteering team help to make sure those patients needing to attend hospital have a positive experience.
Stuart Morton lives in Leicester, loves dogs, swimming and music especially singing. He works as a careers adviser at New College and for three years has also been volunteering at Leicester Hospitals.
“I wanted to volunteer during the pandemic to help the local community. Initially it was strange, but with PPE, good training and the support of volunteer services, I soon got used to it.
“I initially helped with the donations that were coming in for NHS staff. More recently I have been meeting and greeting patients and also helping to get the Christmas gifts organised for our patients.”
The main advice from Stuart is to follow the safety advice on site from arrival.
“We’re here to greet you, make sure you know where you need to be and help however we can. You can help us by following our safety guidance when in our hospitals and when you are going about your everyday life too.”
Our Multi-lingual gardening enthusiast Shashi Patel from Humberstone, joined the hospital volunteer team eight years ago and has continued to support patients in hospital throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I joined Leicester’s Hospital volunteers team I started as a buggy driver at Leicester General. I then moved to the Royal Infirmary to help take people in their wheel chairs to appointments and where I can I also support with any language barriers. I can be the first point of contact for patients so it is important I am a welcoming friendly face – and doing this even when wearing a mask is a whole new skill for me.
Top tips from Shashi if you are coming in for an appointment would be to remember that seating in clinics is limited to help social-distancing, so don’t arrive too early!
Hilary Allen lives in Glenfield, and volunteers her time for several organisations across Leicestershire, including Leicester’s Hospitals. She also sings in a choir (although they’ve not been able to meet with the choir since March). For the last five years, Hilary has been volunteering at Glenfield Hospital one afternoon each week.
Hilary said: “I really enjoy volunteering. I feel there is often some small thing we can do to help others. And it works both ways, because I feel that I get a lot back.
“As a volunteer things have changed. Visitors are no longer, understandably, allowed onto the wards so many relatives and friends are dropping off bags of personal items and gifts for patients. One of my main duties is to deliver the bags to the patients Sometimes they ask for a message to be passed on, I like to think that this is helping families to stay connected despite the distance.
“I feel very fortunate to be in a position that I can offer my time and support for those who need it, especially during these difficult times.”
Our volunteer’s service and patient experience team will be helping families to stay connected through the visiting restrictions this Christmas as they have been doing all year in the face of challenging circumstances balancing safety and wellbeing.
Rebecca Brown, Acting Chief Executive said: “During this unprecedented period in our history, our volunteers, whether at home or at our hospitals have played a vital part in the way we have managed patient care. They have made a real difference. With their ongoing support and care it will enable us to emerge from this challenging time stronger and more patient-focused than ever.”
For more information about keeping in touch with patients in our hospitals this Christmas go to: https://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/patients/covid-19-information-hub/additional-ways-to-stay-in-touch-with-patients/