Patient and Family Team Volunteers

Patient and Family Team Volunteers

The PFT has 8 volunteers, working solo or in pairs to cover 5-6 days per week in ICU. On arrival each morning, they meet with the Clinical Nurse Specialist (Stephen Pearson), who highlights patients that could benefit from holistic and/or practical support. Holistic support includes befriending and handholding during difficult procedures such as lumbar punctures, taking their mind off any discomfort. Female volunteers might be needed for cultural reasons, if for example a woman is uncomfortable speaking to a male doctor on her own.

Practical support can be wide-ranging, including running to the shop to getting toiletries and essentials, fetching books from the hospital library, charging patients’ phones and other devices, finding lost property, or locating and moving property when a patient is transferred down to ICU in the middle of the night.

One of the loveliest ways the volunteers help emerged organically from the relationships formed with patients. If a patient is moved to a different ward, and if continued contact is appropriate, volunteers continue to support people throughout their entire in-patient journey, visiting and helping them on their new ward.

PFT Volunteers serve in a caring rather than a clinical capacity. We don’t ask or expect them to be roaming psychologists; we trust them to care for and support patients who need it, and they do an outstanding job. We’re hoping to expand the role by training them in end-of-life support, providing warmth and care for patients who don't have any next of kin.

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