NNUH appeals for North Norfolk volunteers
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is appealing for volunteers to join their ‘settle-in service’ programme and settle patients back into their homes after a stay in hospital.
The service, launched in June 2015 has had a busy year, with an increase in patients accessing the service and now more volunteers are needed for the North Norfolk coast.
‘Settle-in’ volunteers meet people as they return home from hospital and carry out some simple checks around the house. They can also arrange for people to be helped or referred to other services where necessary including the Red Cross Support at Home service which can offer on-going support.
This special volunteering role can slot in around an individual’s work or other commitments.
Jo Barber, personal assistant to Jeremy Over the Director of Workforce at the NNUH is a settle-in volunteer and regularly settles people back into their own homes after their stay in hospital. Jo joined the Trust 11 years ago as a PA and joined the settle-in service in April. “I saw the role advertised at work and thought why not give it a try as it means I can give something back, and I can fit this in around my working week”, she says.
Jo lives in the Acle area and for the settle-in volunteer role agreed to cover Winteton, Hemsby and Acle as well as areas close to the hospital after work. “It is not a lot for me to do but it means a great deal to people I help settle in”. Jo explains: “The patients are so grateful for the tasks we are able to do for them and it makes it all worthwhile”.
Mabel Anderson, 80 from Sheringham, was Jo’s first settle in patient. Mabel recently had her first ever stay in hospital and explains the benefit of a settle in service volunteer. “I found the prospect of returning home with no one to greet me quite daunting and worried if I had anything in to eat or what the state of my fridge was like!” explained Mabel; “Jo was an absolute godsend and we need more people like her. Knowing I had someone to greet me and help get me settled made coming out of hospital a lot less worrying and much easier. I am really thankful I had someone like Jo.”
The settle-in service role is the first volunteering role that Jo has taken on and she is thoroughly enjoying it. Jo explains you do not need to have a medical background to fulfil the role and it is a great opportunity for those wishing to help people, especially the elderly who are often on their own.
Sally Knights, NNUH Volunteering Services Manager said: “There are some really exciting opportunities available as part of the NNUH volunteers team, particularly the “Settle-in” service with a network of volunteers across the county meeting patients as they return home and carry out some simple checks around the house such as making a cup of tea or making sure the central heating is on and working. Many of our patients do not have family members living locally and need extra help to regain their confidence after leaving hospital.”
Michael Emeny, NNUH Settle-in Service Operational Lead added: “The service has grown from strength to strength since it was launched and has helped many people. We are looking for those special people who want to help and make a real difference to someone who has just returned home from hospital so that we can offer the service to all areas of Norfolk.”
To register your interest or to find out more information please contact the Volunteering Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01603 286060. The next settle-in service training day is on 16th June; please register your interest prior to attending.
The volunteer service at NNUH covers many roles at NNUH including the Settle-in Service and it 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.