Beatson Cancer Charity is delighted to announce ward volunteers have returned to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
The programme focuses on volunteers spending time with patients to provide company and emotional support.
It started in 2018 where 19 volunteers took part in the service which provided over 200 hours of ward volunteering but was suspended in March 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The programme restarted this summer to provide patients with additional support while they go through treatment.
Volunteers support patients during their time in the wards by making a patient a cup of tea and spending time with them. The team also inform patients about the Wellbeing services available to them at their bedside or up in the Wellbeing Centre.
Ward volunteers can also assist the ward staff by encouraging patients to complete their What Matters to Me boards, help distribute meals and be an extra pair of hands on a busy ward. The volunteer role is not clinical or medical – it is a support role to help patients.
The volunteering takes place in Wards B1 and B2 and covers Monday-Friday mornings from 10am-1pm and evenings from 4pm-7pm.
Paul Sheerin, volunteer engagement officer at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “It helps to have someone to talk to who has the time to spend chatting and listening to patients.
“It’s company and comfort which can help with worries, boredom, isolation and loneliness which can occur during a stay in hospital.
“Some of the conversations are emotional, others really light and conversational. Patients talk about whatever they wish; sometimes family, life, the weather. Other times it’s their cancer, the treatment, how they are feeling. In all cases, the ward volunteer team will be led by the patient and listen.”
Alexis was the first volunteer to return on Monday 4th July 2022 – two years and four months after the programme was suspended.
Alexis said: “It's so rewarding just to feel a volunteer can give patients the time to talk about anything at all, nothing off limits.
“Since being back I've discussed so many things from books and authors, sheep dog training, how patients feel about their diagnosis. Just being able to ease someone's worries sometimes is so worthwhile. It's also good to help the staff out sometimes too.”
Nasreen has also been volunteering on the wards since the programme returned in July.
She said: “I find that ward volunteering provides me with an opportunity to give something back and hopefully makes a difference.
“It’s good to chat to someone who’s feeling lonely and wants some company - especially those with few or no visitors. It can make their hospital stay less lonely, reduce their boredom and act as a welcome distraction from feeling ill.
“I once had a patient referring to me as his ‘lucky charm’ because after offloading some of his anxieties to me about being in hospital, he was told he could go home that day. On occasions I have had partners and visitors offloading their anxieties.
“To anybody considering ward volunteering I would say if you’re friendly, approachable, good at talking and listening, non-judgmental and have respect for others then give ward volunteering a go.”
Marlyn Hosie, volunteer manager at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We were so delighted to be able to restart the Ward Volunteering.
“The response from the staff in the wards has been so lovely. Our volunteers are wonderful, so kind and compassionate and really enjoy chatting with the patients.
“This can be a wonderful support to patients during their stay at the Beatson. We are really keen to encourage more people to join the Ward Volunteer team so we can expand this support to patients in other wards in the hospital. If you are friendly, chatty and compassionate, you will find this role really rewarding. We offer full induction, training and support.”
Anyone who wishes to find out more about our ward volunteering programme is welcome to get in touch.
Contact Marlyn to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org.