The ward befriending scheme at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has received national recognition.
Launched in August, by The Mayor of Wakefield Metropolitan District, Cllr Ellis, the scheme - which provides patients with additional support and companionship during their stay in hospital – has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Volunteer Management Awards from the National Association of Voluntary Services Managers (NAVSM).
NAVSM is a membership organisation which supports and develops best practice in volunteer management in the NHS and Healthcare. The awards provide an opportunity for shortlisted organisations to showcase examples of their inspirational volunteering projects demonstrating how patient / service user / carer experience has improved as a direct result.
The ward befriending scheme is run by the Voluntary Services team at the Trust, where Vikki Padgett is the Voluntary Services Manager, she said: “The fact that the ward befrienders scheme has received recognition after such a short space of time is testament to its success.
“Ward befrienders play a vital role in the recovery of patients. As well as providing a listening ear, companionship and being a confidante they can assist with things such as feeding; helping to provide patients with the correct nutrition and ensure they stay hydrated.
“A stay in hospital can be a lonely time for many, especially if you have no family or friends and having a befriender spend time with you can make all the difference, helping to lift your mood and facilitate the recovery process. I’m proud of the whole team.”
Majorie Darnell is one of the patients at Pinderfields who is benefitting from the scheme. “In these wards there are a lot of old people who benefit, they get very depressed and lonely but can communicate,” she said.
“It is also quite frightening to be in a strange place not knowing what is going to happen to you if an operation is required. These volunteers are very reassuring and leave their patients much more relaxed, which is better for staff and doctors who do not have as much time.”
There are also tremendous benefits to the volunteer befrienders. They can develop both their communication and interpersonal skills, and it can also be a great way to gain experience of working in a healthcare setting for those who wish to pursue a career in the NHS or a community based healthcare setting.
Vikki and her colleagues will now attend the NAVSM annual seminar in Birmingham, at the end of the month, where the winner will be decided.