Purposeful Activity Volunteers at Weston General Hospital

ContactDebra Parsons, Matron Lead for inpatient Dementia Services, Weston Area Health NHS Trust
AddressGrange Rd, Uphill, Avon, BS23 4TQ

What is being done?

Purposeful Activity Volunteers at Weston General HospitalPurposeful Activity Volunteers (PAV) are recruited to visit inpatients with dementia at Weston General Hospital. The aim is to provide a period of social inclusion to this vulnerable group of inpatients, to have the time to sit, talk, and share or simply to hold a hand in what is often a frightening time for this vulnerable group of people.

What is new and different?

This is more than a befriending role; the volunteers will have had experience with dementia and have access to reminiscent pictures and books to aid communication. The volunteer will add details of his visit to the All About Me booklet thus helping the ward staff to gain a clearer picture of their patient. A record of the visit is also made in the patients care plan on a feedback sheet, this offers the nurse or Dr an opportunity to get a real feel for the patient, how they expressed themselves, their recall of life events, their mood or behaviour.

What difference does this seem to be making?

Patients respond to the volunteers very well and often ask if they can return. The nursing staff benefit enormously from the information that is shared by the volunteer. There is clearly a far greater level of information obtained by the volunteer, who has had time to get to know the patient and build a relationship, this helps tremendously to paint a picture of who the person was and still is. The volunteer finds this to be a very fulfilling experience and gains a huge sense satisfaction from their visit.

One of our PAV’s also attends the ED department; he recently told of how he noticed a patient kept glancing at the clock, when he gently questioned her about it she told him that her husband was being cremated that morning. (She had become unwell and was unable to attend the service). He asked if she would like the Chaplain and she declined so he sat with her, holding her hand, making light conversation. He felt her grip tighten as the time progressed and then loosen again. Such a simple kind act on behalf of the volunteer that made such a difference to the patients visit to the hospital.

One thought on “Purposeful Activity Volunteers at Weston General Hospital

  1. Brian Smith

    Such a straight forward yet excellent service. The purposeful activity volunteers give the thing that people with dementia in inpatient settings often need the most: time. What’s really good about the PAVs involvement is they have an opportunity to build the personalised care and support document ( ‘All About Me’) with the person, and to document their interaction on feedback sheets. This all feeds in to the clinical work of the health and social care staff, helping them delivder the right care and support, int he right way and at the right time. Excellent!!

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