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Award winning Salisbury Psychologists shortlisted for national award 


Psychologists in the award-winning Engage programme at Salisbury District Hospital have been shortlisted for the national Patient Safety and Care Awards for the package of support and stimulation they use to help older adults in hospital.

The team, which recently expanded their programme to all wards and is now being used in other hospitals in the south of England, has been shortlisted in the Dementia Care category.

The Engage programme uses trained volunteers who provide support for patients during their hospital stay, by visiting different wards and sitting with the patients, talking to them and using techniques such as quizzes, discussion groups and memory games that help keep patients motivated.

Salisbury District Hospital psychology co-ordinator, Tora Mathias-Jones: “Around 66% of patients in hospital are aged 65 or over and need some form of short or long term care. We know that older people can often lose independence when they come into hospital and develop psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. More stimulation and social interaction can help to alleviate some of the problems that older people could face when they suddenly find themselves in an unfamiliar environment and our research suggests that the work of our volunteers can help improve levels of depression, anxiety and length of stay.”

Miss Mathias-Jones added: “We have already won a Striving for Excellence Award and last year we reached the last three in the country for a Health Service Journal Award for Innovation. The Patient Safety and Care Awards will give us another opportunity to highlight the extraordinary work that our trained volunteers carry out and give them further recognition for the additional support that they give to elderly people in hospital.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Engage project provides volunteers with an opportunity to give something back to the local community. Volunteers gain hands on experience as well as the opportunity to have training in specialised areas such as dementia, communication difficulties, depression and many more. They also have the opportunity to attend supervised sessions with clinical psychologists.
  2. The Engage project has been running for just over two years. It initially began with five volunteers working on two wards in the hospital, and as the project has developed, we now have between sixty and seventy volunteers working on 12 different wards.
  3. The Salisbury team have now trained volunteers to work in Poole Hospital and aim to expand their training to other local hospitals and further afield in conjunction with the organisations that are interested in using the project.
  4. We are expanding and developing the project all the time. If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer they can contact the Clinical Psychology Department on 01722 425105 or e-mail at

For further information please contact:

Patrick Butler,
Communications Manager,
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.
Tel: 01722 425170
Page Last Updated: 08/05/2014 10:05 
Printed from Salisbury NHS Foundation Website