Volunteering roles

Melvyn Zeff When we recruit volunteers we are always looking for the right people, those who are friendly, respectful of all, those who celebrate the uniqueness in difference, whether that is our ethnicity, gender, ability, religion or sexual orientation.

They are people who have a natural positive disposition, who are reliable and committed. They wear our volunteer uniform with pride, beaming with compassion and enthusiasm. We believe that the dedication and support of volunteers’ helps us to achieve wonderful things and makes the experience of our patients, the very best it can be.

It is so rewarding to feel that you have helped a patient who is feeling anxious or nervous. The role of a volunteer is a unique one, activities complement the care and support given by staff, and they do to replace staff or mitigate staff shortages. 

Volunteers must not assist with anything of a medical nursing nature, read patients’ medical files or share this information, assist with cleaning duties of any kind or repair any item of equipment. As a volunteer you are in a position of trust this should never be abused or used to advantage yourself or disadvantage a patient.

There are a number of different roles available for those wishing to volunteer. The following voluntary services below will help you to work out how you might like to get involved with our hospitals.

Apply to become a volunteer at our Trust.

Daisy Volunteer

General tasks

This role is about caring for someone and their family during their final weeks and days of their life. We are looking for individuals who would be willing to come and sit with a patient in their final days or hours or it could even be to offer the families/carers a chance of respite without worrying that their relative will be alone.

Various forms of support will be offered to the patients such as facilitating communication between the patient and their family/carers or friends by way of Skype or FaceTime. Other times you may be called upon to play either their favourite music, T.V programme or just hold their hand. For the families who are shielding, you will be able to gather the patient’s belongings and pass them over to the families.

We are always looking for the right people, those who are friendly, respectful of all, those who celebrate the uniqueness in difference, whether that is our ethnicity, gender, ability, religion or sexual orientation. We are people who have a natural positive disposition, who are reliable and committed. They wear our volunteer uniform with pride, beaming with compassion and enthusiasm. We believe that the dedication and support of our volunteers’ help us to achieve wonderful things and makes the experience of our patients, the very best it can be.

"Touch has a memory” John Keats

The majority of people who die have family, friends and visitors that give them support. But what if you had no-one? What if you were facing your death alone? With the current reality that we live in today, patients will spend a lot of time alone and some even face the devastating prospect of dying alone in a hospital ward. For others their relatives and friends may be there but are often overwhelmed and isolated.

You must not

  • Volunteers must not assist with anything of a medical nursing nature, read patients’ medical files or share this information, assist with cleaning duties of any kind or repair any item of equipment.
  • As a volunteer you are in a position of trust this should never be abused or used to advantage yourself or disadvantage a patient
 

Bleep Volunteer

  • Bleep volunteer is a new role developed to help support ED during the winter pressures.
  • Volunteers are contactable by staff when assistance is needed. Changes in how we work, has meant that patients are not permitted to have their loved ones, family and friends with them.
  • Many of our patients, especially the elderly and vulnerable, will be feeling very alone and isolated while in ED.
  • Our Bleep Volunteers are on hand to offer companionship whether sitting, chatting, playing a game of cards, getting them a drink, a blanket or helping to phone their loved ones to update them. They are there to help our patients.
  • They also help support staff in non-clinical tasks such as telephoning patients relatives, filing or running errands. This may mean collecting medication for a patient or escorting them to where they need to go next.
  • Our volunteers told us that they get a great deal from volunteering, so if you are calm, active, live locally with spare time on your hands this could be something you would enjoy.

Emergency Friend

Tasks

  • playing games with patients (cards etc.)
  • have a conversation with patients,
  • sitting with patients who have no visits to help combat loneliness
  • reassure nervous patients by keeping them company
  • assist with the supervision of children as required due to patient’s treatment.
  • help patients during mealtimes, issuing hand wipes, serving refreshments and replenishing water jugs
  • encouraging our patients to eat and support feeding, when trained and clinically safe to do so.
  • Emergency Friends meet and greet patients in the triage/ waiting room area ensuring they are seated in the right waiting area
  • escort mobile patients to other parts of the hospital, as directed by senior staff
  • advising/ assisting patients and relatives of other services offered by the hospital
  • ensure patients know where facilities are located
  • help patients contact their relatives using an iPad.

Mealtime Assistant

Aim:

To provide support for the patients on a ward at mealtimes, who require assistance or encouragement with feeding and hydration.

Tasks:

  • Liaise with the appropriate staff at the start of each mealtime to ensure an awareness of each patient’s medical needs in relation to their diet and the way they feed is understood
  • Introduce yourself to the patient and say who you are and explain what you are going to do.
  • Encourage patients to eat and remind them where necessary, if they have not finished their food.
  • Ensure all food and drink is within easy reach of each patient
  • Ensure the patient has the correct meal. Assist patients in cutting food and opening packets.
  • Refresh patient water jugs as required
  • Assist with patient dignity. For example this may be by wiping the patient’s mouth (with their permission) or ensuring they have a suitably placed napkin and hand washing before and after meals
  • Ensure the patient is comfortable and safely positioned (if not, seek assistance from the
  • healthcare team as you are not permitted to lift patients)
  • Ensure that the patient has access to any equipment they need for eating including false teeth.
  • Remove crockery and cutlery from the patient’s bedside area and ensure the area is kept clean and tidy – maintain high standards of personal and food hygiene
  • Help patients fill out menu cards if instructed by healthcare team
  • Please remember you must not feed any patient who has difficulty swallowing – inform the nursing staff of any patients who experience any difficulties particularly in swallowing.

Outpatients’ Befriender Volunteer

  • Assist patients complete the Friends & Family Test (FFT) survey so that their voices are heard and their opinions, sought. FFT allows us to see what we are doing well and where we can improve, and volunteers are vital in this.
  • Much of this role is listening and chatting with patients, reassuring anxious or nervous patients through companionship or relaxed interactions, demonstrating appropriate boundaries at all times.
  • Being knowledgeable about the area you volunteer, will help when supporting patients. You will make sure that they are comfortable, advising patients of delays or clinic changes, ensuring magazines and leaflets are topped up.
  • Escorting mobile patients to other parts of the hospital as directed by senior staff, is a fundamental part of this role, so being physically fit, essential.

Pastoral Visitor

Tasks

  • To work under the supervision of the Department of Pastoral and Spiritual Care visiting specific wards at times agreed with senior sister/charge nurse.
  • To ensure each visit is agreed with Senior nursing staff on duty.
  • To make sure proper personal and hand hygiene is observed by the pastoral visitor.
  • Hands are washed/cleansed with ‘spirigel’ between each patient.
  • Pastoral Visitors will follow staff instructions should they visit patients in isolation/’barrier-nursed.’
  • Pastoral visitors introduce themselves to each patient and offer them the opportunity to talk about their spiritual, religious or emotional concerns.
  • When the patient does not want to talk – the visitor will discreetly move away from the patient’s bedside.
  • At the patient’s request the Pastoral Visitor may pray with or for the patient.
  • Pastoral Visitors should refer requests for Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Sick and other such religious rites to site lead chaplain (or deputy). If practicable, Roman
  • Catholic patients can also be referred directly to the site RC Chaplain.
  • Any referrals to patients’ own Faith community leader to be through site-lead Chaplain and only then at the patient’s specific request.
  • Interest shown by a patient in attending a place of worship for the first time, as a result of the visit, must be referred to site-lead Chaplain.
  • Similarly referrals for more in-depth spiritual or emotional care are to be referred to the
  • Lead site Chaplain. Any interest shown by a patient regarding ‘conversion’ to a faith must be referred to the site-lead Chaplain. No pamphlets or brochures are to be passed onto patients without site-lead Chaplain’s knowledge or permission.
  • Pastoral visitors Licensed by their Diocese as Lay Ministers of Communion may administer communion to patients on wards under the guidance of a staff Chaplain.
  • Rules of strict confidentiality are to be observed for the above mentioned referrals and Pastoral Visitors are to observe and respect the patient’s confidentiality within and beyond the ward.

Voluntary Services Role Description

  • Voluntary Services
  • Pastoral Visitors are not to inform patients of their personal phone numbers, contact beyond the hospital is strongly discouraged unless the patient was previously known by the Pastoral Visitor.
  • Pastoral Visitors have a duty to ensure they nourish their own faith by involving themselves fully in their home faith community. 
  • Pastoral Visitors are to be visiting the wards for an initial period of 6 months, after which the ward manager and site-lead chaplain will decide if the visiting arrangement continues.
  • When on the Wards, Pastoral Visitors are to follow the guidance of Ward Staff at all times.

Technology Engagement Volunteer

Aim of this role:

To combat loneliness and isolation by supporting elderly patients to use modern technology to embrace friendship, conversation, and gain support at a time they feel they need it most and are feeling vulnerable.

These tasks are ward based and as such involve a great deal of interaction with patients, their family, and friends as well as staff. Volunteers do not carry out any duties or procedures which could or should be given by paid or clinical/professional members of staff.

Main tasks include:

  • Advising and teaching patients and staff about the facilities available on the RITA technology
  • Encouraging patients to recall and share events from their past through listening to music, watching news reports, playing games, and watching films
  • Helping patients to take part in group social and recreational activities available through the RITA therapy software such as bingo, seated exercise, watching a movie or karaoke
  • Listening and chatting with patients
  • Keeping company with and reassuring anxious and nervous patients or those who are feeling isolated
  • Ascertain if a patient is ready for the next step which is to offer Wi-Fi connection in their home and the loan of a SPARKO box 

You must not:

  • Assist with anything of a medical nursing nature
  • Read patients’ medical files or share this information
  • Assist with cleaning duties of any kind
  • Repair any item of equipment
  • Lift heavy loads

Ward Befriender

The main tasks of our Ward Befrienders are:

  • playing games with patients (cards etc.)

  • have conversations with patients

  • sitting with patients who have no visits to help

  • help combat patient loneliness

  • reassure nervous patients by keeping them company.

  • help patients during mealtimes, issuing hand wipes, serving refreshments and replenishing water jugs, encouraging our patients to eat and support feeding, when trained and clinically safe to do so.

  • meet and greet patients, escort mobile patients to other parts of the hospital

  • assisting patients and relatives

  • ensure patients know where facilities are located

  • help patients contact their relatives using an iPad.

Wayfinder Concierge

When people attend hospital they are often worried and finding their clinic location can be difficult. Both Queens Hospital and King George Hospital are busy environments, with long corridors or zoned areas which for many can be confusing.

Our wayfinder concierge supports the main entrance and the entrances/exits to wards and departments with a friendly welcoming face. Wayfinder concierge will signpost visitors to
other services, provide information such as car parking, ensuring adherence to PPE and
social distancing regulations whilst offering assistance and companionship as required.

You will demonstrate a calm and patient exterior with your focus on making the experience for the patient as pleasant as possible. You will be physically fit and active; much of this role is about supporting people who may require escorting, therefore this role entails a lot of standing around or physical activities as you may be asked to deliver or collecting
medications or run errands.

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