Investing in volunteers helps strengthen your health & care services
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust created a pool of hospital volunteers, who are on stand-by to help patients and staff with a wide variety of tasks – from fetching a prescription to helping transfer a patient to X-ray. Dedicated volunteers use bleepers which means staff can contact them from across the hospital. This led to extremely positive results, particularly for the patients who avoided unnecessary delays in their discharge.
At University Hospitals Southampton the average age of inpatients is 77. They found that many of their older inpatients were not getting enough exercise and the resulting muscle deterioration could lengthen their stay in hospital. They did a study called SoMoVe that involved volunteers helping patients get up and moving, and its success has led to it now being deployed across the trust.
Volunteers for older people
Many of the elderly patients who present at Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres are vulnerable. They may be frail and at greater risk of falling and they may find it difficult to understand what is happening, because of dementia or other cognitive impairment. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust developed a role for volunteers to engage with patients within these settings to perform the initial part of a screen of patients ≥ 65 years of age for falls and cognitive impairment. Working closely with staff, the volunteers improve patient experience and general awareness of delirium, dementia and the risks of falls.
All NHS Trusts can expand volunteer services
In partnership with NHS England, we are working with NHS hospital trusts to accelerate volunteering in and around hospital settings. We will be sharing the impact of new volunteer services soon. Watch this space.