This week, volunteers across Liverpool University Hospitals are being celebrated for their amazing contribution to enriching both patient and staff experience, as the annual Volunteers’ Week returns.
The volunteers’ service across the Trust, which includes Aintree University Hospital, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital and the Liverpool University Dental Hospital, has a national reputation, having won a variety of awards for compassionate individuals and innovative approaches to patient care.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, 120 of the Trust’s volunteers have continued to work within the hospitals, helping to support patients and staff in new ways. Their service is being recognised with a thank you letter and certificate from Chief Nurse, Dianne Brown.
Due to restrictions on visiting, many patients were unable to see their loved ones throughout the year. Some of the volunteers acted as a lifeline for families as part of the Family Liaison Service, sharing messages between those on the wards and at home.
Volunteer Chris Gosling, 63, was part of this team. She has been volunteering for over three years: “It was lovely to be able to take personal messages up to patients on the wards. One lady said as she passed a bag of possessions, ‘Please tell my husband I love him very much’. It must be so hard for patients and their relatives to be apart for long periods of time in difficult circumstances. I hope I made a difference.”
Jaskirat Aulakh, 21, has been volunteering throughout the pandemic: “Volunteering during COVID has given me something to look forward to and enjoy. I feel privileged to be part of the staff wellbeing hub and think it’s such a great addition to the hospital. I always enjoy being in the hub, interacting with staff – it gives me a great sense of satisfaction.”
For many, volunteering has been a welcome feel of normality during the pandemic, and have enjoyed being able to carry on doing what they love. Margaret Hewitson, 77, has been volunteering for 9 years and has found returning to volunteering such a relief. She is currently assisting with visiting on wards:
“My life had been on hold and I’ve been happy to return to meeting other volunteers and ‘being useful’ again. I enjoy helping others and feel I am doing something to support and benefit patients.”
If you have been for your COVID vaccination at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, you may have spoken with Joe Kearns, 78, who has been volunteering at the hospital for 17 years: “I enjoy working in the Linda McCartney Centre. It’s been great meeting different people who have been coming through here for their vaccine. I hope I have made them feel at ease!”
Dianne Brown, Chief Nurse, at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely lucky to have such dedicated and compassionate volunteers at the Trust, who all do incredible work to support our patients and visitors.
“A big thank you to those who were able to continue volunteering throughout the pandemic, your support has been invaluable. I would also like to welcome back those who were shielding or unable to volunteer during this challenging time – we have missed you. Thank you all for everything you do.”