It’s National Volunteers Week 2020, so we’d like to say a huge thank you to the volunteers who help us here at NDHT.
We currently have around 200 volunteers. They are an incredibly diverse group, who bring together a wide variety of ages, faiths, cultures and life experiences to make such an amazing difference to our patients. Our youngest volunteers are 16 years old ranging right up to those who are in their 80s. Many volunteers have been with us for long periods of time – the longest being 32 years – and many now join us for shorter periods to gain experience before going on to further education in medicine, nursing and associated therapies.
Some join because they are considering a career changes or because they have some spare time to give, or they have recently retired and want to give something back. NDHT staff across the Trust highlight how great it is to work with such an incredibly interesting group of people.
COVID-19 means the majority of our volunteers are currently shielding self isolating and are sorely missed; we are looking forward to being able to gradually welcome them back over the coming weeks and months., but we have had large numbers of potential volunteers come through from the general public wanting to help at the start of the outbreak. Many of those then registered with GoodSAM so that they could help directly in their community, and we have recruited a further 20 amazing new volunteers to help here at NDDH during this time specifically.
Our volunteer drivers are busy delivering medication directly from pharmacy to patients’ homes all over North Devon and our nurse support volunteers are supporting patients and staff directly on Fortescue Ward.
We have also introduced our volunteers to the patient experience team and they are helping deliver daily messages from home to patients across the hospital as well as delivering knitted hearts to patients separated from their families.
Volunteers help with a huge range of other tasks including:
- General ward patient companions and assisting patients to feed at mealtimes
- Dementia café
- Social activities group at community Leg Ulcer clinic
- Printing and delivering Daily Sparkle daily dementia newspaper to patients across the hospital
- Helping with the eye clinic at Bideford Hospital and on the ward at South Molton Hospital
- New mothers breastfeeding support
- Friends & Family Test surveys
- Library trolleys to wards
So thank you, each and every one of you, for the valuable work you do to support our staff, patients and families!
Pictured is one of our COVID-19 volunteers, Kathleen Leighton, who has been volunteering at NDDH for about a month. Kathleen undertakes a wide variety of tasks on the wards to help out staff when they’re busy, including delivering mail, refilling laundry supplies, helping patients write letters to their families and just talking to patients.
“It’s really lovely,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to be of service while all this is going on.”
Anyone who is in need of volunteer help, or who would like to volunteer, can contact Lesley Gaish, volunteer co-ordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org