A graduation event has been held to celebrate a team of activity and mobility volunteers who work at the Freeman Hospital.
Activity and mobility volunteers are a group of 45 students from Newcastle College, the Royal Grammar School, Gosforth Academy and Jesmond Park Academy. They work alongside the physiotherapy team on ward 14 at the Freeman Hospital – an orthopaedic rehabilitation unit for adult patients who need further rehabilitation care after treatment for a traumatic injury.
The volunteers work with the team on the ward to help get patients ready for discharge. As well as helping get patients up and ready for the day, they support staff with mealtimes and offering drinks, they also encourage patient to engage in mobility and chair, bed exercise sessions, 1-1 and group activities.
Alison Haigh volunteer service manager at Newcastle Hospitals developed the activity and mobility support volunteer programme after a request to help support patient discharge she explains: “This volunteer role is so important – not only to our patients – but also to the volunteers. They all have a keen interest in a career in a variety of healthcare roles so the experience they’re gaining is so valuable.
“The activities they support help to mobilise the patients that will help to reduce harm from deconditioning. The feedback we receive from patients is amazing – the volunteers are all so friendly and bring such comfort and company to patients on the ward.”
As well as getting first-hand experience of working in a hospital environment they also work through a structured volunteer workbook, to record and reflect upon their learning, and after achieving 60 hours of volunteering, they receive an accredited National Volunteer Certificate from Health Education England.
Many of the volunteers will be transferred to other wards across the Trust so that they can build upon their experience gained so far. As part of Volunteer to Career initiative, the volunteers have been encouraged to apply for one of the apprenticeships with the Trust, whilst others, who over 18’s are looking to join the Staff Bank as Healthcare Assistants.
You can hear first hand from some of our volunteers, the staff they work with and the patients they support in this video.