PAT volunteer role at Kingston Hospital revitalised

21st December 2022

Kingston PAT

Working in partnership, a group of 6 Pets as Therapy Volunteers have completely revitalised the PAT volunteer role at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Instead of a roaming role whereby volunteers circulate the Trust without specific audiences in mind, our adult inpatient SALT Team leader responded with great positivity when three of our volunteers, Susie, Frances and Peter suggested working with the Speech & Language Team to target their time towards patients who will benefit therapeutically from a PAT dog visit. Several meetings and a SOP later, PAT volunteers now visit 5-8 patients per visit along with a named SALT therapist, who makes observations about the patient’s responsiveness to the dog and progress towards clinical outcomes during each session.

Together with the SALT team’s planning, PAT volunteers can visit patients across both medical, Care of Elderly, stroke wards, ITU and Paediatrics. This can also be a reactive role, when a patient is, for example, palliative and needs to be seen quickly as well as planned visits.

Keen to share this example of good practice, the PAT team wrote up a case study detailing the SALT progress of one particular patient on Hardy Ward in response to Susie and Digby’s visits over a period of 6 weeks. I chose Outstanding Volunteering Team of the Year’ as the SALT team really seized the value in collaboration with volunteers and it has paid dividends for the integration of volunteering into that team, as well as the actual benefits seen and documented for the patients.

"The PAT Volunteers and clinical SALT team are a true example of when outcomes and experiences can be improved when we work together better."

Nominated for the 2022 Team of the Year category

Enjoyed reading this story? Why not read all the Wall of Fame stories here.