Staff at Salisbury District Hospital are looking for new volunteers who can give up some of their free time to provide companionship to patients with dementia to support them in hospital, as part of a new pilot on Redlynch and Pitton wards.
While the Trust runs the successful Engage programme, where volunteers increase social interaction for patients through quizzes, discussion groups and memory games, ward companions will act as “friends”, giving additional support and company for patients during their hospital stay.
Jo Jarvis, Voluntary Services Manager said: “Around 66% of patients in hospital are aged 65 or over and need some form of short or long term care. While the Engage programme is interactive and specifically designed to provide stimulation for older patients, for many they still have time on the ward where they can benefit from someone just sitting with them, talking and giving them company during their hospital stay.”
Mrs Jarvis added: “We have a strong tradition of volunteering at Salisbury District Hospital and our volunteers find the work and time that they give to our patients interesting and rewarding. We are looking for people who have good communication and interpersonal skills, an approachable friendly and caring manner and would be able to give up around two to three hours a week for a morning or afternoon. Interviews and checks would be carried out, and training provided for successful candidates. “
People interested in becoming a ward companion should contact Jo Jarvis, Voluntary Services Manager on 01722 336262, extension 4026 for more details.