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Lucky to have Mike’s support

28th November 2020

Mike Grinsell Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Submitted by Eleanor Morris, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Mike Grinsell joined the Trust to support our Clinical Volunteers programme (set up in March 2020) during the Covid-19 outbreak and pandemic. It was very important at this time that the Trust recruited volunteers quickly due to losing our existing volunteer workforce, in order to support the patients and staff and complement the busy staff teams. Volunteers were trained in a number of fields, such as: providing bed making, serving refreshments and food hygiene, dementia awareness, patient communication, hand hygiene, infection prevention and use of PPE, and information governance. Many kind hearted individuals from our local community applied to volunteer and Mike was one of them, starting with us in April 2020.

Mike’s reasons for wanting to help us were that he saw our advert and felt that he had all the necessary skills to assist us at a pressing time, and really wanted to relieve some of the pressures on nursing and medical staff.

Since commencing with us as a Clinical Volunteer there has been no holding Mike back! He has quickly settled into a role at our Rehabilitation hospital supporting elderly patients or patients with cognitive conditions such as stroke or brain injury. Mike is greatly appreciated by the staff who agree he has taken the pressure off them enormously and enhanced the patient experience. He volunteers around two to three days per week (also volunteering with a local hospice and charity shop).

Mike has recently retired. However, in his previous work, he managed a Learning Disability residential home, and was an adult social worker based in hospitals for many years, also a social work manager. Mike knew some of the staff still working in the hospital and had an understanding of how things worked with getting patients cared for and then being assessed to go home. With this, he also understands well the pressures of hospitals and concerns and anxieties the patients and their loved ones will be feeling.

Mike has become a mentor to our new, inexperienced and younger volunteers which is why we wished to nominate him for the Wall of Fame. Mike meets new volunteers and shows them the ropes, keeping a caring and watchful eye over their progress. Other volunteers have told us how they feel they can go to Mike for support and a friendly chat. We feel it is partly due to Mike’s support with other volunteers that the programme has been successful and we have retained so many volunteers for long periods. Retention of younger volunteers for long term periods has previously been a challenge but with Mike’s support, this has really helped.

In addition Mike has contributed to a ‘volunteer experience’ video which was shown on the Trust social media channels during Volunteers Week in June 2020, and has also offered to support the set-up of a regular volunteer liaison group when face-to-face meetings are able to commence. Mike often offers honest and open feedback to the Volunteer services management from a volunteer’s perspective on how things may be improved and help us retain volunteers for even longer.

Since he commenced in April 2020, Mike has contributed an amazing 376 hours of volunteering, not to mention the additional time he has given to assisting with other Trust projects, for example ward board audits and he is due to assist with assembling and distributing care packs, which have kindly been donated by Amazon, for distribution to frontline staff across the Trust. This is truly astounding and he has not missed attendance for one week in this time!

We have received amazing feedback from the Matron at the rehabilitation hospital where she states that Mike and other volunteers have been invaluable during this extraordinary time. The assistance they have provided to the nursing and support services has been thankfully received by the teams. They have been extremely professional and selfless in giving their time to help and without them many patients would have had a more difficult time whilst unable to see their loved ones, Mike has become friends to patients and a valuable part of the team on both wards.

They wanted to personally thank him and say they could not have survived the last few months without the volunteer support - a truly outstanding testament.

This outstanding contribution also upholds our Trust vision which is to continually strive to improve the outcomes and experiences for the communities that we serve.

We truly appreciate Mike’s contribution and feel very lucky to have him as a volunteer.