Volunteers’ kindness will not be forgotten

Patients living with dementia and delirium are benefiting from a pilot program that has commenced at Royal Perth Hospital.

elderly lady playing cards with nurse

The ‘Forget Me Not’ program is staffed by a dedicated group of trained volunteers, who offer comfort and support to patients with cognitive impairment, specifically dementia and delirium.

The concept is based on a similar NSW model of care, which found patients with cognitive impairment benefited from person centred care and meaningful engagement.

Royal Perth Bentley Group Coordinator for Cognitive Impairment Elaine Newman said that the ‘Forget Me Not’ volunteers were able to provide patients with a friendly face, emotional support and practical assistance at a time when they needed it most.

“This person-centred care can reduce patients’ anxiety and distress levels in an unfamiliar environment, which can assist with recovery,” Ms Newman said.

“Feedback has been extremely positive, with relatives of patients grateful for the program – as it can provide them with peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving care and engagement while they are not with them”.

The 20 volunteers participating in the pilot program have varied backgrounds and reasons for participating, some want to ‘give back’ to the community and some want to learn more about dementia and delirium to assist their own families.

There are also a number of student volunteers who wish to gain more experience for the hospital environment, patients and care teams they will encounter upon graduation.

The volunteers range in age from 18 to 70 years.

Ms Newman said that although the trial was still in progress, early results had been extremely positive from volunteers, patients and their families.

“Our volunteers are actively making a difference in the lives of these patients, and we are pleased to say we already have a waitlist of volunteers for the next intake,” she said.

View Healthview May edition