21 December 2016
The Here to Help Volunteer Scheme at Hull was launched in 2013. Its remit was to enhance non clinical support for the hospital on a daily basis.
Led by Gill Rosenberg, who spent many weeks consulting with staff both clinical and non-clinical to gather information on how the volunteers could provide support. The emphasis was on enhancing the work carried out daily by the staff and most importantly to enhance the patients’ journey through the hospital.
It is a unique scheme in a private hospital whereby a volunteer goes on shift but does not know what he/she is going to be doing. The role allows the volunteers to develop confidence to make use of their own very differing skills. This is one of the great strengths of the scheme along with the opportunity to talk to many patients and their friends and relatives.
The scheme is only marketed within the hospital and many volunteers are previous patient who see it as a way of giving something back to the hospital.
The volunteers have different motivations and come from all walks of life; some at the beginning of their careers wanting experience in a healthcare environment, others are at the mature end of their working life and many just have some time to spare.
The job description include; tidying reception, getting patients refreshments, directing patients to and from departments, administration tasks and talking to inpatients in their rooms. This is a proactive role and develops every day so the job description is always evolving. The volunteers take a consultative approach and try to react to what is happening to the hospital at that particular time. For example; if a consultant is running half an hour late for his outpatient clinic then the volunteers will go into the Outpatients’ waiting area, keeping them informed and offering to get a fresh cup of coffee. If the ward has an elderly inpatient with family who live away and few visitors then the volunteer will spend time sat in the room talking to them and similarly if they have been booked in and are waiting for a procedure. The patients appreciate someone to talk to, sharing thoughts and feelings with a stranger is sometimes easier than family or friends. Sandra Fletcher, Ward Manager says “the volunteers, in their distinctive red waistcoats, have become an asset that is much appreciated by staff and patients alike. They assist us in keeping the hospital looking its best for our customers and in putting patients at their ease”
The scheme is in its third year at Hull and has evolved greatly throughout this time and has the potential to do more. The benefits for the hospital are there for everyone to see. Rachel Conyers, Matron/Head of Clinical Services at Hull says, “the volunteers help us to engage with our patients in different ways and I believe this adds value to the patient experience.
After the success the scheme has had in Hull Gill has worked with the staff to launch to Here to Help at Spire Leeds Hospital.
If you have recently retired, are between jobs, or simply want an opportunity to get out, meet people and do something positive and rewarding then this scheme may be for you!
The 'Here to Help' scheme makes a real difference to the experience of patients and visitors, at a time when they need to be calm and relaxed.
There are many ways you can contribute - from welcoming patients when they arrive for appointments and working on the ward, day-care suite or out-patients.
You can volunteer as little or as often as you like, to suit your own schedule and lifestyle. We only ask that you commit to a minimum of three hours a week.
You can be assured that you will be doing something rewarding, different and most of all valued - and in doing so you will become part of the Spire community.
Training will be provided so that you can comfortably fit into the Spire environment and the 'Here to Help' co-ordinator will support you wherever necessary, along with Spire Hull and East Riding staff.
If you would like to find our more please call the hospital on 01482 659 471