The Salisbury District Hospital psychology team is expanding its award winning programme of social and cognitive stimulation to cover all elderly care wards and is looking for volunteers to help with the programme.
A pilot study run on Farley and Redlynch wards found that an increase in the amount of cognitive and social stimulation for elderly patients in hospital can help decrease levels of anxiety and depression which is common in older people.
The pilot used volunteers and recently won a Striving for Excellence Service Improvement Award. The volunteers are all trained to help people with cognitive and communication difficulties and are able to help patients by increasing stimulation and interaction through memory puzzles, discussion groups and reading, along side group and individual work.
Salisbury District Hospital’s Psychology Co-ordinator, Lizzy Goad, said: "Older people often lose independence and self confidence when admitted to hospital, which can lead to short or long term psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. Given that around 66% of our inpatients are over 65 years old, this programme provides vital extra support that they need. More cognitive stimulation and social interaction can help alleviate some of the problems that older people could face when they leave familiar surroundings to come into hospital and provide a more interesting and therapeutic environment for them."
Miss Goad said: "The project needs volunteers who are committed to our patients and who can make a difference during a difficult time in their lives. The work is rewarding and enjoyable and we’ve had excellent feedback from patients and relatives. Volunteers need to have an interest in psychology or a commitment to this clinical area through formal or informal learning."
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer should Lizzy Goad through the Clinical Psychology Department on 01722 425105 or email me at