Date of release: 1 June 2020
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has welcomed National Volunteers Week with the news they have recruited over 300 volunteers since the COVID-19 outbreak.
A total of 153 members of the general public were taken on following an incredible response to a national appeal for assistance during the pandemic, while 150 Trust staff and current volunteers also put themselves forward to help on the wards at this challenging time. Volunteers have helped out at all three main Trust sites - New Cross, West Park and Cannock hospitals.
All volunteers undertook a training session which included information on how to make beds, how to assist patients with feeding and when and how to wear and remove personal protective clothing (PPE).
Departments across the Trust were invited to apply for volunteers to help them. One area where they have been hugely welcomed is Acute Medical Unit (AMU), where they are helping with pastoral care to replace the social contact of visitors. Volunteers perform vital roles in the wards. They make drinks for patients, help them at meal times and provide a listening ear at what can be a lonely, challenging time with no visitors permitted. They have also put together puzzle books and word searches to help keep patients occupied.
Manjeevan Singh, 17, from Wednesfield, is one of the Trust’s Community Volunteers. A student at Thomas Telford School in Telford, he is currently studying for his ‘A’ levels in biology, chemistry and geography and applied to the Trust after his careers advisor at school invited applications. His work experience has been cancelled this year because of COVID-19 so this opportunity has been invaluable. He said: “I want to go into medicine so I wanted to see how nurses and doctors react to the pandemic. It’s been a great experience.”
So far Manjeevan has done shifts on Elderly Care and Maternity. “On Elderly Care I was responsible for talking to the patients and asking if they wanted drinks,” he added. “It was an eye-opener because restrictions on visitors mean patients can feel isolated but they became happier knowing there was someone to speak to. On Maternity I helped the support staff with bed making and safety checks. It was lovely to see new-born babies and their parents. I can’t wait for my next shift – to talk to new people and make a difference in the community is a good thing to do.”
James Owen, 34 from Shifnal, a staff volunteer, has undertaken shifts on Ward 2 at West Park and a shift on AMU earlier in the pandemic. He said: “The staff were incredibly welcoming on both of the units and very grateful that my volunteering partner and I were there. For the most part of our shifts we were busy helping on the unit. The activities we undertook during the session were bed making, talking to patients and making drinks, while I even put up some bunting for a VE Day celebration Ward 2 were planning to have.”
James added: “I most enjoyed talking to the patients – they were lovely people – and it was obvious they were grateful for a chat as visiting is suspended at present. PPE was provided and, when asked, staff were delighted to help you find things, or with any questions I had. It was a very positive experience.”
Notes to Editor