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Role Description: Volunteer in Midwifery Led Unit

Tags: Guidance, Template

11th March 2021



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Thank you to Gina Barr the Volunteer Services Manager at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust for sharing this document.


Location: Midwifery Led Unit & Jeffcoate Ward

Role: Volunteer

Responsible to: Ward Manager

The Midwifery Led Unit (MLU), aka Princess Diana Suite, is an area where ‘low risk’ women can choose to deliver their babies in a more calm, relaxing and ‘home like’ environment. It comprises of 13 ensuite labour/delivery rooms including a room for water births. Jeffcoate ward provides inpatient care for low dependency postnatal mothers and babies. The ward comprises of 29 single rooms all with en-suite facilities. The ward has a high turnover of patients, who only need to stay on the ward for a short time.

Volunteers will contribute to the informal atmosphere of the unit and help to enable the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience

  • Introductions: You must always report to the Ward Manager or Shift Leader on arrival.
  • Greeting and welcoming women and their partners when they arrive at the unit: When a woman arrives at the Unit volunteers can play an important role in settling the women into the unit by meeting her at the door when she arrives and showing her to the room that she has been allocated to.
  • Assisting staff in ensuring rooms are ready for new patients and supporting staff during the admittance procedure:

Is the room too hot/too cold? Are there enough pillows on the bed? Is there a fresh jug of water at the bedside? Does the woman want help putting her belongings in the lockers?

Being around to be an extra pair of hands for the midwife whilst she is admitting the woman onto the unit, can be a great help to the midwife and also a reassurance to the woman.

The woman will then be aware that volunteers are around and then feel more at ease asking volunteers for support etc.

  • Talking to and befriending patients: For many women having a baby and being away from home can be quite a stressful time. Not being at home and being able to do the things we take for granted can also be very frustrating. They may also feel lonely, anxious, and overwhelmed. The ward routine can also be disorientating. Having someone who has the time to chat and listen to their worries can be very comforting for the women.
  • Making midwives and other staff aware of any patient concerns: Sometimes women find it easier to talk to someone who isn’t involved in their care. Often women have worries and concerns that they haven’t shared with anyone else, or feel that they don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Often these issues can be resolved quite easily and quickly once a member of staff is involved. Volunteers can play a very important role in making midwives aware of issues that the women are concerned about.
  • Assist in transferring women from MLU to other wards: Help carry belongings. Making sure nothing is left behind. You may be asked to do this instead of a member of staff who can then carry on with other tasks.
  • Supporting mothers who are having ‘skin to skin’ contact with their babies: Following the delivery of her baby the mother may be tired. However she may still want to hold her baby in the ‘skin to skin’ position etc. At the same time she may also be anxious that she may fall asleep and let the baby slip, in which case having a volunteer who can sit with her will be a reassurance for both the mother and the staff. If the mother’s partner is present they could use the opportunity to contact family etc. whilst a volunteer is with the mother.
  • Escorting the parents and their baby out of the hospital when going home: All babies have to be accompanied by a member of staff or volunteer when they are being taken home. Volunteers can play an important role in this as it means staff do not have to leave the ward.
  • Answering the door intercom and allowing access to the unit: Staff are often distracted from other tasks, simply to answer the intercom. Once you are familiar with the unit you will feel confident enough to answer the intercom to allow partners onto the unit. This will ease some pressure on the staff and also help prevent partners getting impatient when waiting outside the unit.
  • Help man the reception desks: Assist the staff by manning reception desks for short periods of time during busy periods, visiting times or in the absence of a member of staff N.B you will not be expected to, and should not man the reception desk for the whole duration of your shift.
  • Answering the telephone when there are no staff are available: This will often mean taking a message and passing this on to the appropriate member of staff. If relatives ring to ask how women are, you will not be able to pass any information on, unless a midwife is present and gives authorisation to do so.
  • Food and drink for women: Women can often be admitted to the ward and miss the scheduled mealtimes. A midwife may then ask you to make some tea and toast etc. A woman may also ask for a snack in between meals, or a drink etc. You should always check with the midwife caring for that woman, before getting any food or drink for them. Help give out food to patients at meal times, only when supervised by a member of staff. Clean the patient’s tables and give them wipes to clean their hands if required.

Hostesses on the ward ensure patients receive up to 3 jugs of fresh water per day. You can help the hostess collect and give out jugs of water. You can also refill water jugs as long as it is the same jug for the same patient. All jugs must be cleaned by the Hostess to ensure they are correctly sanitised.

  • Other duties that the Ward Manager or Shift Leader feels are supportive to the woman, for example:

Ensure patients are aware of the system for registering Births

Escorting patients to other departments in the hospital e.g. Registrar’s office, Neonatal Ward etc.

Helping women take baby to paediatrician appointments

Give out feeding bottles

Watching over babies if requested by patients whilst they register the birth, take showers, go for a walk etc.

Supporting recovering mothers who may have difficulties lifting and holding their babies

  • Supporting the Ward clerks: Compiling Admission and discharge Information packs for patients and supporting staff to ensure that all women have been issued with a pack. Ensure the patient leaflet racks are kept tidy and stocked up. Maintain stocks of leaflets and inform staff if stocks are low.

Photocopy and filing.

Keep the bed board up to date.

Collecting and returning notes.

  • General housekeeping tasks:

Keep rooms tidy i.e. flowers, empty and clean vases, refill water jug etc.

Keeping notice boards tidy, including ‘Thank You cards’ board and ensuring cards are stored safely for future reference.

Keeping disposable glove and apron dispensers stocked up.

Collecting items from other departments e.g. baby warmers from delivery etc.

Keeping patient sitting room tidy and ensuring stocks of tea, coffee etc are maintained

  • Encourage and help patients fill in Exit Cards:
  • Buddying: When a new volunteer joins the service, you may be asked to show them the role and around the ward and hospital.
  • Surveys: You may be asked to conduct surveys with patients using an electronic hand held device or paper questionnaires
  • Fundraising: You may be asked on occasion to take part in fundraising activities such as selling raffle tickets or assisting on the fundraising barrow.

Excluded tasks

There are a number of tasks that volunteers must not carry out under any circumstances. These are: -

  • Lifting patients, even when a member of staff is assisting
  • Give drinks/food to patients unless authorised by a member of the clinical staff team
  • Give clinical information to a patient, relative or visitor
  • Escort patients off the wards without authorisation from a member of the clinical staff team
  • Take part in the clinical care of a patient e.g. assist a patient who is vomiting
  • Touch or move equipment e.g. drip stands, monitors etc. unless authorised to do so by a senior member of staff
  • Escort patients to the smoking shelter on site, or take them off site to smoke tobacco
  • Clean up or handle items soiled with bodily fluids or excrement
  • Chaperone patients
  • Volunteers should not be involved in patients personal care e.g. bathing (including bathing babies), toileting
  • Volunteers must not photocopy patient information or confidential information

Health & Safety Policy

The Trust has a Health & Safety Policy that it actively promotes. Some of the issues that you need to be aware of whilst working at the Hospital are: -

  • Lifting of patients should only be carried out by the clinical staff who have been trained in the proper procedures to follow.
  • Do not allow visitors onto the wards unless authorised by the ward staff.
  • Do not attempt to clean up vomit, blood, urine etc. Inform a member of staff.
  • In the unlikely event that a patient becomes aggressive or violent inform a member of staff immediately and let them deal with it.
  • Babies must only be taken off the wards if accompanied by a member of staff. Inform a member of staff immediately if this does not happen.

Important note for volunteers If you are asked to do a task that is not included on the above list and you feel the task is not appropriate for you to do, please speak to the Ward Manager, Matron or the Volunteer Services Manager

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