Hospital seeks helping hands

IPSWICH Hospital is today hunting for volunteers to help carry out vital work.

IPSWICH Hospital is today hunting for volunteers to help carry out vital work.

The nursing teams at the Heath Road hospital are hoping to improve mealtime care for older patients, as it aims to become a national leader for caring for the elderly.

Helpers are needed to support patients choosing meals, assisting with feeding and spending time with patients who do not have friends and relatives visiting.

Cath Gorman, interim matron for care of older people, said: “The needs of patients are not just clinical and having volunteers to help our nurses care for patients will make a real difference.

“Patients, particularly the elderly, need stimulation and encouragement and we want to be able to offer them the absolute highest standards of all round care. A small amount of time from a volunteer can make a huge difference to a patient.”

Current hospital volunteer Pauline Martin said it not just the patients who benefit from the volunteer scheme.

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The 68-year-old said: "Every time I leave off I feel like I've achieved something.

“Whether it's making a patient smile, helping the nursing team or doing a job which wouldn't get done if I wasn't there, I always know I've done a little something to help others."

Mrs Martin, who lives in Kesgrave, is a volunteer on Haughley Ward and helps at the hospital two mornings a week.

She used to work as a hostess at the hospital and has returned as a volunteer in her retirement.

Her roles include making beds, keeping patients company, giving patients their meals and running errands for the nurses.

She said: "I feel part of the team from the minute I walk on the ward. We always have fun.

“I would definitely recommend volunteering. You can fit the hours around your own time and there are so many different wards and departments where volunteers can work, there's somewhere to suit everybody I'm sure.”

If you are interested in volunteering opportunities at the hospital call the voluntary services department on 01473 704103.

Has a volunteer changed your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail