Compassionate Care Volunteers Needed For Vulnerable Patients at The Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower

Compassionate Care
Photo Credit: Supplied

The Wesley Hospital in Auchenflower has launched a Vulnerable In-patient (VIP) Service and needs more Compassionate Care volunteers for patients at risk of loneliness, anxiety or require companionship for social engagement due to special needs. 

As part of the Compassionate Care team, these volunteers will receive extensive training from both the hospital’s Pastoral Care and clinical teams to provide high-quality clinical care and support the patient’s social and emotional needs during their stay at The Wesley Hospital.

Research has demonstrated that social engagement while in hospital has many benefits for patients including reduced behaviours, decreased length of stay and faster recovery. The vulnerability may look different for each patient and could be caused by a long hospital stay, significant distance from home and support networks, impaired mobility or increased stress and anxiety.  

The activities volunteers can do with patients vary but could include, conversations over a cup of tea, going for a walk in the gardens, doing a jigsaw puzzle, playing a board game or sharing a meal together. 

“While routines in hospital are focused on providing high-quality clinical care this environment can at times be disruptive and stressful, especially when a patient does not have a support network close to them,” The Wesley Hospital Chaplain Leanne Duncan said.

Tower Ad

“We know that social engagement has many benefits for patients and is demonstrated to support recovery and reduce the length of stay in hospital. 

Photo Credit: Supplied

“We identify our vulnerable patients as those who may be in hospital for a long period of time, those who come from regional/remote areas, those with no family or friends close by and those with mobility or cognitive impairments.”

The service has been trialled on Nurse Unit Manager Kerrie Blocksidge’s ward which is comprised mostly of older patients.

“We absolutely love the VIP service here and it has made such a positive impact not only with our patients but our nursing staff as well,” Kerrie said.

“You can’t measure happiness but we certainly notice a change in our patients after they have had a visit from a volunteer, I believe it’s a wonderful initiative and we would welcome more volunteers to our ward any day.”

VIP Service Compassionate Care Volunteer Pauline said she jumped at the opportunity to make such a meaningful impact on the patients.

“This feeds my heart, I really enjoy spending time with these people, they get the opportunity to take their minds off their hospital stay and talk about something different,” Pauline said.

“Some of the patients live regionally or remotely and have limited support networks here in Brisbane, having a friendly face to chat with makes a huge impact. I love seeing them at the end of my visit far more animated than when I first walked in, I feel like I made a difference.”

The Wesley Hospital is seeking expressions of interest for Compassionate Companion volunteers to work alongside clinical staff, in four-hour shifts. 10am -2pm in various wards across the hospital. 

Published 18 March 2023