Volunteers needed to keep lonely patients company at Christmas - The Rugby Observer

Volunteers needed to keep lonely patients company at Christmas

Rugby Editorial 20th Nov, 2019   0

NO ONE should be alone at Christmas – that is the motivation behind an initiative for volunteers to visit and befriend patients in St Cross Hospital over the festive season.

Following the successful Festive Befriending scheme of the last two years, the Friends of St Cross charity and the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) are launching another appeal for participants to help cheer up patients at the hospital.

Staff at the hospital say patients often enjoy having a conversation with someone other than a health service professional.

St Cross Modern Matron Judith Lewis said: “Unfortunately we will have many patients at St Cross who will not be well enough to be discharged home before Christmas. They may also not have friends or relatives nearby who can visit them.

“This is a great initiative which was first launched in 2017 by the Friends of St Cross and has given people some much-needed company. We are delighted it is being repeated this year.”

Kristine Davies, Head of Voluntary Services for UHCW NHS Trust, said: “Patients also enjoy playing games such as dominoes or scrabble, or even using the art cart available to patients, which is part of a well-established Healing Arts programme to help improve the experience and environment for our patients.

“Our activity co-ordinators work with ward staff and volunteers from the Friends of St Cross and the Good Times Project to keep patients occupied while they’re in hospital. We have seen the benefits these initiatives bring to help patients all year round.

“Christmas can be an especially lonely time, so we are really pleased to team up with the Friends of St. Cross again to reach out into the community for more volunteers over the festive season.”

Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, added: “Last year we had a great response, with 65 people volunteering and many coming to visit patients on two or more occasions. This year we would like to do even better!

“We look forward to welcoming people from across the community who would like to take up this opportunity to make a difference for patients in our lovely hospital.”

Volunteers will be provided with guidance, including ways to open up conversations with patients. They will need to state which days they are available during normal visiting hours of 2-4pm or 6.30-8pm from December 21 to January 1.

For more information, email [email protected] or come to Poplar Place, the restaurant at St. Cross, on Saturday November 23 or 30 (10am-noon). Bring photo ID and proof of address.


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