BLOG: A patient's perspective on the value of volunteers at Fairfield General Hospital

24 November 2022

Kirstie Healey portrait.jpgMy name’s Kirstie Healey. I’ve been an assistant volunteer coordinator for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust for five years. That means I can spot special when I see it. And I’d like to give a massive compliment to two volunteers I encountered at Fairfield General Hospital recently.

My nan was admitted to the Emergency Department on a Sunday evening a few weeks ago – we were tired, fed up and the place was packed. Around 8am and after no sleep at all, one of the lovely volunteers appeared at the door to our cubicle and offered BOTH of us tea, coffee and toast. My goodness what a difference this made to the patient experience. It was so welcome and she was so kind. As I love my job and know the difference the volunteers make to our NHS Trust, I introduced myself to her, had a chat about her role and why she’d chosen to volunteer. I love hearing these stories. I knew she had more people to see so I thanked her for her time, told her just what a difference she made and how what she does is so important to the patient experience.

Around 10:30am, we were moved to a new unit that was in its first day of a trial – Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC). Here, we came across another volunteer in the corridor who smiled and said hello to us both. We got settled and then she appeared offering us both refreshments. Again, I had a lovely chat with her and thanked her for her time and told her what a difference she makes. She was wonderful and appeared many times during our stay on the SDEC unit.

It’s boring and frustrating having to wait around but what a difference she made to the experience. Many patients feel forgotten when hour after hour passes and no-one has been to see them. This volunteer helped to alleviate that. I also noticed her having little chats with patients who did not have relatives with them.

Volunteers are worth their weight in gold. If they were ours, I’d be so proud of them. I know they told me their names but at this point I’d been awake for about 36 hours and don’t think I could even spell my own name!

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