Patient to volunteer, companionship and conversation
Volunteer Kate Pointon knows what it’s like to be a patient on the Neurosurgery ward at The Alfred – it’s where she spent three months last year recovering from a brain aneurysm. Now, she’s one of the first “Host Volunteers”, providing patients on the Neurosurgery and Trauma wards with companionship and conversation.
This National Volunteer Week we are acknowledging and thanking our volunteers who are “Making a World of Difference” to the patient experience.
“I think patients really appreciate and are comforted by the fact that they can share with someone who’s had a similar experience and been in their situation,” said Kate.
“Having an aneurysm was a frightening thing to happen. My dad is a doctor, so he knew what was going on, and my grandmother died from one. It was important to me to have people to talk to as a patient.”
The program was established by Nurse Unit Managers, Georgie Johnson and Noel Sceriha, in partnership with Gillian Wilson and Katrina Lewis of the Patient Experience Program.
“Communication with people is critical to help them get better – it is important in terms of patient centred care. We help nurses who may be unable to sit for a long period of time with a patient.”
Kate says after she was discharged she wanted to do something for The Alfred and the amazing clinicians who looked after her.
“I’m giving back to a place that has had a massive impact on me. This life changing event has led to re-evaluating what I do.”
In Making a World of Difference, Kate’s simple philosophy is: “Patients are just people, so why would we treat them differently just because they’re in a hospital bed? I learnt from my dad who was a GP and well-loved, that you treat the person as a whole.”