ST. LUKE’S General Hospital, Kilkenny has launched a recruitment drive for a new Volunteer Service to assist and support members of the public when visiting the hospital. The hospital is looking for volunteers to take part in the pilot project and would welcome volunteers from all sections of the community aged 18 years and over (there is no upper age limit). Training and support will be provided to all volunteers.
The main role of the volunteer will be to provide a friendly welcome and reassuring first impression to all who enter the hospital and to assist and guide visitors and patients to the various wards, departments and clinics in the hospital. The Volunteer Services will be provided in the main Reception Area, Out Patient Department and other areas, as required. Currently St Luke’s General Hospital has the support of volunteers from the Association of Children in Hospital Initiative working with staff in the Paediatric Department and the type of tasks that will come under the remit of this wider Volunteer Programme also include visiting patients, bedside reading, text messaging, assisting patients and staff with simple tasks – i.e. picking up newspapers for patients, fetching beverages from the shop and manning information stands at the front hall and in the Outpatients Department.
The concept of a Volunteer Programme was first suggested by Ms. Helen Butler Director of Nursing and it was developed through a Volunteer Committee in conjunction with St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny Patient Partnership Forum. The Forum was set up in 2006, in order to ensure that patients and members of the general public have a say in the quality of services provided at the hospital.
Ms. Kathleen Kumnig, service user and Chairperson of St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny Patient Partnership Forum, says she is very pleased that a Volunteer Service is being developed:
“People are often worried and at their most vulnerable when arriving at a hospital, so a welcoming face and a helpful reassuring hand could make a big difference. There are many benefits to becoming a volunteer, such as learning new skills, making new friends, experiencing a new work environment and making a positive difference. It will also help to make the experience whilst in the hospital as pleasant as possible in what can be a worrying, overpowering experience for some members of the public and patients.”
Inviting interest in the initiative, Ms. Anne Slattery General Manager Carlow/Kilkenny Acute Hospital Services said: “If you feel you would like to contribute and commit to a number of hours per week and would like to find out more about the project and the tasks involved, you are welcome to attend an Information Session, which will be held in the Resource Room upstairs in the New Outpatients Department at St. Luke’s at 3.30pm on Thursday. This is an hour long information session where you will have an opportunity to learn about the project and the subsequent interview, selection process and induction programme. People may also contact Alison Mulloney Patient Liaison Officer by telephone at (056) 778 5311. Volunteering may be of interest to many people – for example, retired staff of the hospital/retired people/students/members of voluntary organisations and any other interested individuals who choose to contribute their time and talent to supplement and enhance the efforts of our clinical and support staff in delivering the best healthcare possible at St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny.”