Wesley Hospital Launches Vulnerable Inpatient Program
The Wesley Hospital has implemented a new service designed to provide non-clinical support to patients who are at risk of experiencing loneliness during their hospital stay.
The Vulnerable In-Patient service (VIP) is an extension of the award-winning End of Life Compassionate Care service created by Wesley Hospital Chaplain Leanne Duncan.
“While routines in hospital are focused on providing the 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,” Leanne said.
“We know that social engagement has many benefits for patients and is demonstrated to support recovery and reduce the length of stay in hospital.
“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.”
Leanne explains the VIP service is comprised of trained volunteers who are supported to engage with patients on the hospital ward.
“This can vary from conversation over a coffee, sharing a meal together, jigsaw puzzles or board games, short walks in the gardens or any other suitable forms of social engagement as approved by the patient’s care manager,” Leanne said.
The service has been trialed 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 Volunteer Pauline said she jumped at the opportunity to make such a meaningful impact for 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.