King’s Volunteering Programme
King’s Volunteering Programme is an innovative scheme which helps improve patient experience and supports staff in their work. The fantastic project has been supported by donations from its beginnings five years ago.
Volunteers help patients in many ways, from popping to the shop to buy them a newspaper, or just being there when they need someone to talk to. They also help out in the gift shops, or act as guides to help patients and staff find their way around the hospital.
Volunteers can help on specific wards, or at home with a patient once they’ve left hospital to support them in settling back in after their stay.
Giving back to King’s
Volunteers each have their own, often personal reason for signing up to the programme. Paul Straupmanis and Tet Ho both volunteer at the hospital as a way of giving back for the care they received as patients.
Now recovered from serious injuries caused by a car crash in 2014, Paul volunteers on Katherine Monk Ward, spending time with patients and helping with catering.
The ward specialises in caring for patients who are having surgery, many of whom are referred from the Emergency Department. He’s able to draw on his own experience which allows him to empathise more with the patients he now supports, many of whom have also suffered traumatic injuries.
‘I enjoy speaking to patients who are in a similar position as I was and giving them comfort and hope towards getting better,’ he says. ‘Dealing with people who are struggling to come to terms with what happened to them can be a challenge, but I always seem to find a way to get through to them to open up constructive dialogue about it and how to move forward.
‘Volunteering at King’s is one of the best things that I’ve ever done. I would not miss it for the world.’
Tet Ho was treated at King’s in 2015 for heart failure and chronic kidney failure and is still an outpatient. So impressed with his care, he decided to sign up to volunteer as soon as he was fit enough.
Since starting in February 2016 he has volunteered in many departments across the hospital, and his current role is assessing new applicants who want to join the team.
‘It’s a privilege and honour to be a King’s volunteer,’ says Tet. ‘I am equally proud of every role I’ve been assigned. My main goal is to assist and make a small difference to the wellbeing of the patients.’
Training and support, every step of the way
King’s is proud to offer a thorough training programme, which is supported by donations from people like you. Volunteers receive day-to-day support, meaning that patients have the best possible experience and volunteers feel part of the team.
‘Volunteering at King’s is a great learning opportunity,’ says Eleonora Strangis, who has volunteered at the hospital for three years. ‘I’ve attended many training sessions including communication training, which has been really good.’
King’s is seen as a centre of volunteer excellence, something that we’re extremely proud of. This was evident in the BBC Radio 4 documentary, Volunteer Nation, which featured the King’s Volunteer Programme.
The King’s College Hospital website offers lots of information about how to become a volunteer. Here are just some of the fantastic services which volunteers run:
- Hospital 2 Home Service supports patients who are leaving hospital to return home, which can be a stressful time for many people. Volunteers help with their transition and settling them back into to their everyday lives by offering one-to-one support through the discharge process and beyond.
- Home Hamper Scheme offers patients a food parcel to take home with them on discharge. This is mainly for long-term inpatients, who are maybe going to a new home environment or who face other hardships. The scheme has also supports homeless patients, as well as families who have travelled from far away for their child’s treatment.
- Social Club is a volunteer-led day club for patients. It was launched in December 2014 and has had over 100 patients attend since then. Held on Saturdays, it provides fun and social interaction for inpatients who are well enough to leave the wards.
- Activity Boxes are kept on elderly care and dementia wards and contain items based on key themes such as ‘the seaside’, ‘the market’, ‘pets’ and ‘London’, with the aim is to trigger memories for patients and to aid interaction and conversation.
The extra care and support that volunteers provide enables King’s to go above and beyond and ensure the best possible patient experience. We couldn’t run projects like this without your help.
Please, donate today and help us make King’s the best it can be.
Above image: Paul Straupmanis who volunteers on Katherine Monk Ward. Bottom image: Tet Ho receiving an award at a King’s Volunteers event.