Knowing Me volunteers

Tuesday June 2, 2015
Knowing Me volunteer Pat Peal with a patient at St Richard's Hospital
Knowing Me volunteer Pat Peal with a patient at St Richard’s Hospital

What makes a good volunteer? According to Knowing Me volunteer Pat Peal it is having a good listening ear, an interest in other people, patience, and a sense of humour.

Pat gives freely of her time to help patients living with a dementia while they are staying for various treatments at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester.

The 71-year-old from Worthing hopes others will be inspired this Volunteers’ Week to also volunteer for their local hospital.

“You will usually leave at the end of your volunteering session feeling a lovely warm glow,” said Pat, “and realising how much you have learnt, not only about the patients but also about yourself.”

Knowing Me volunteers spend around three hours per week with older people on the wards, talking and listening to patients, and helping them to recollect old memories.

No-one can underestimate the importance of a friendly face taking the time to listen and help

“During your time as a volunteer you will meet some wonderful people with such stories to tell,” said Pat. “These wards are not sad places and you will hear giggles and laughter.”

Nationwide, around 850,000 people are living with a dementia, and in West Sussex more than 14,000 people have been diagnosed with one.

Many will require hospital treatment at some point and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Worthing, Southlands, and St Richard’s hospitals, is making determined efforts to ensure the care they receive is always improving.

The Trust’s dementia strategy has been ‘highly commended’ by the Care Quality Commission, and Knowing Me volunteers are just one of many measures put in place to meet the needs of older patients living with a dementia who require hospital care.

All Knowing Me volunteers are fully trained by experienced staff and can expect to spend their time talking to the patients, holding their hands, and listening.

To find out more about becoming a Knowing Me volunteer call Claire Goldsmith on 01243 788 122, ext 2456, or email Claire.Goldsmith@wsht.nhs.uk.

More than 1,000 dedicated people give up their time freely to work in their local hospitals in Chichester, Worthing and Shoreham.

They make a significant difference to patients, visitors and staff and, with demands on the NHS growing all the time, their assistance is greatly appreciated.

Chairman Mike Viggers said: “We know that it is often the smallest things that make the biggest difference, and no-one can underestimate the importance of a friendly face taking the time to listen and help.

“I would like to thank all those who volunteer for the Trust – the genuine warmth, assistance and support they provide is truly exceptional.

“We offer a wealth of volunteering opportunities and we welcome people from all walks of life who wish to help us help others.”

To find out more about all volunteering opportunities please visit our volunteers pages or call one of the voluntary services managers on 01243 788122 ext 2456 or 01903 205111 ext 85615.

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