Volunteering success as first patient 'settles – in'

Follow a recruitment drive for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s new volunteers ‘settle in’ service, the service has now been launched and has just helped its first patient.

The new ‘settle-in’ service is provided by specially trained NNUH volunteers.

The ‘settle-in’ volunteers meet patients as they return home and carry out some simple checks around the home. They can also arrange for patients to be helped or referred to other services where necessary including the Red Cross Support at Home service which can offer on-going support for discharged patients.

The first patient to receive the fantastic new service from the NNUH volunteers was local artist Pauline Plummer, 81, following a stay as an inpatient for a hip operation.
Miss Plummer says: “I was apprehensive about going home and I found it very reassuring to know that I would be met there by the Settle In volunteer. Linda, the volunteer who kindly met me at home, was able to unpack my bags, make a cup of tea, water my many plants and ‘fire up’ my laptop! It was so nice to see a friendly face to welcome me on my return.”

A total of nearly 30 now trained and volunteering on behalf of the hospital in various capacities making the service more sustainable.

Sally Knights, NNUH Voluntary Services Manager, says: “We were overwhelmed with the response from the recruitment drive and have managed to secure some great personalities who are perfect in our volunteering team and have helped to make this initiative possible. I am delighted to be able to announce this new service during Volunteers’ Week. It is great that we have the service up and running, and have helped our first patient and we’re pleased that Miss Plummer is recovering well at home. ”

Michael Emeney, Service operational lead says that “The scheme will offer confidence to patients returning home from hospital,. We are able to offer practical and emotional help, as well as an offer of an environmental assessment to identify any potential trip hazards etc. which can be easily remedied.”

Volunteer, Linda Kiff, who has recently left a long career in education, says this is her first taste of volunteering. “Although this is the first time I have ever volunteered I found the time spent helping was very rewarding and I would say to anybody looking to do some voluntary work within their community to contact the scheme. I felt I was able to make a small but significant difference at a difficult time.”

There are a variety of volunteering opportunities including some based within the hospital and others helping patients in the community following discharge. The roles included being a dementia support companion for older patients and supporting patients when they return home from hospital. There is also an opportunity to be part of the team of volunteers which carry out surveys on the wards to collect patients' views before they leave hospital.

For more information, or if you would like to join the volunteering team, contact the Volunteers Office at volunteers@nnuh.nhs.uk or telephone 01603 286060.


The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals are celebrating volunteers week this week. Volunteers' Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK – and it's taking place from the 1-7 June 2015.

The volunteer service at NNUH has grown from 72 volunteers to 675 in the last 10 years. The service is run by the Voluntary Services Team which co-ordinates all the volunteer activities.

All volunteers undertake a training programme covering areas such as infection control, health and safety, safeguarding patients and confidentiality. On recruitment, volunteers must supply two references and have a Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check. They also have an occupational health assessment.

Volunteers fulfil a variety of roles, such as meeting and greeting patients as they arrive at hospital, supporting patients and staff in the wards and clinics, and providing support to patients at mealtimes. Dementia support volunteers have been introduced to the Older People’s Medicine wards and some specialist roles have also been established such as Reading Aloud, Reminiscence, Breast Feeding Support and Music Therapy.

Friday 29th of May 2015 05:00:11 PM