Volunteers keeping patients in touch with loved ones

Posted Friday, November 25, 2022 5:02 PM

Volunteers keeping patients in touch with loved ones

A team of willing volunteers is on standby ready to support hospital patients to stay in touch with their loved ones.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ Family Liaison Service has provided an important link between patients and their family, friends and carers since the summer of 2020 when visiting restrictions were in place due to the pandemic.

The team of 10 volunteers, who are supported by the Community Involvement team, can assist with video or phone calls, as well as the delivery of items dropped off at hospital sites. This can include letters, cards, messages, photos and non-valuable personal belongings such as toiletries and clothing.

Volunteers can help with technical issues such as connecting to Wi-Fi and charging phones or tablets. They can arrange for patients to use a bedside phone, or support patients to write messages.

Phil Bolton, Chief Nurse at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “This service has been a lifeline for patients during COVID-19 when visiting restrictions were in place. Although restrictions have since been relaxed, this service is still very much needed.

“Some patients don’t have family who live nearby or they may struggle to visit as often as they would like for a variety of reasons, such as work, their own health conditions, or financial limitations.

“With a difficult winter likely due to a combination of Covid and flu, we may need to restrict visiting if cases of Covid increase or if there are outbreaks of respiratory infections on our wards. We want patients and their loved ones to know that we are here for them no matter what.”

Volunteer Jill Smallwood said: “As volunteers within SFH we’ve always done all we can to support patients, but their needs changed and demand increased during the pandemic. It’s a fantastic service that helps loved ones to stay connected during what could be a tough time in their lives. It also gives people who are unable to visit extra peace of mind knowing that their loved one isn’t isolated and has what they need.”  

You can drop off items for patients at the Community Involvement Hub at the main entrance of King’s Mill or the main reception desk at Newark Hospital on Mondays to Fridays (excluding bank holidays) from 8am to 5pm. Belongings must be in a disposable bag, no larger than a pillowcase, clearly labelled with the patient’s name, date of birth and ward.

You can also email sfh-tr.familyliaisonservice@nhs.net or call 01623 676189 for King’s Mill and 01636 685692 for Newark Hospital.                                                         

For urgent assistance out of hours, please contact the switchboard on 01623 622515 who will transfer you to the ward.

The Patient Experience Team is available to support carers and patients with patient care concerns and compliments.

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