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Kissing it Better charity programme brings sunshine to patients at Ipswich Hospital

PUBLISHED: 22:52 11 February 2017 | UPDATED: 23:29 11 February 2017

L-R Joan Sheppard with students Megan Hynes and Rabbina Malik. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

L-R Joan Sheppard with students Megan Hynes and Rabbina Malik. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

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"It's letting people know that society outside this hospital hasn't forgotten about them."

Students from Ipswich School entertain patients at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucy BrownStudents from Ipswich School entertain patients at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

That is how Jill Fraser described Kissing it Better, a charity programme that is being rolled out at Ipswich Hospital.

The scheme invites community groups to use their specialist skills, such as dancing or pampering, to bring a bit of sunshine to patients.

Ms Fraser, who founded the charity, said: “It’s those little things that makes such a big difference to people who have little to look forward to in their daily life.”

Students from Ipswich School entertain patients at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucu BrownStudents from Ipswich School entertain patients at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucu Brown

The interaction is especially beneficial to older people, Ms Fraser said, and all volunteers are given dementia training to learn how to treat those living with the condition with dignity, sensitivity and respect.

She added: “We had some amazing stories triggered in older people, some of them quite mischievous.”

Beauty therapy students from Suffolk New College have signed up to the project.

Rabbina Malik, a beauty therapy student from Suffolk New College, gives Jennifer Nichols a manicure. Picture: Sarah Lucy BrownRabbina Malik, a beauty therapy student from Suffolk New College, gives Jennifer Nichols a manicure. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Lecturer Abigail Silburn-Cooper said it was a chance for the learners to gain some invaluable work experience.

She added: “We have had some students get quite tearful because they have seen what a difference they can make.”

Megan Hyres, 18, is one of the trainees involved.

Suffolk New College student Rabbina Malik, 19, at Ipswich Hospital as part of the Kissing it Better project. Picture: Sarah Lucy BrownSuffolk New College student Rabbina Malik, 19, at Ipswich Hospital as part of the Kissing it Better project. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

She said: “We just take so much for granted and it makes you realise that it’s the little thing like painting someone’s nails or giving them a massage that makes them feel better about themselves.”

Ipswich School has also jumped on board, with talented pupils bringing entertainment to the wards.

Singer Katie Collinson, 18, said: “I have found it quite fulfilling whenever I go in.”

Beauty therapy student Megan Hynes gives a patient in bed in a foot massage. Picture: Sarah Lucy BrownBeauty therapy student Megan Hynes gives a patient in bed in a foot massage. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Actor Luke Howlett, 17, added: “I thought it was really enlightening.

“Everyone there has a story to tell and it’s really interesting to find out about those stories.”

Sarah Higson, head of patient experience, and Carole Broadbank, associate director of nursing, have made it all happen at Ipswich Hospital, thanks to money left to the trust by a former patient.

The Ipswich Community Choir sings to visitors at the entrance of A&E at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucy BrownThe Ipswich Community Choir sings to visitors at the entrance of A&E at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mrs Broadbank said: “It reduces isolation and it’s a bit of pampering so people feel special and looked after.”

Evidence has shown the initiative helps patients leave hospital quicker.

L-R Joan Sheppard with students Megan Hynes and Rabbina Malik. Picture: Sarah Lucy BrownL-R Joan Sheppard with students Megan Hynes and Rabbina Malik. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

The Ipswich Community Choir sings to visitors at the entrance of A&E at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucy BrownThe Ipswich Community Choir sings to visitors at the entrance of A&E at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

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