Elderly patients gain a perspective on hospital

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Mater Adult Hospital (MAH) is changing the experience of hospital for elderly patients with a new program that focuses on creating the most positive environment possible for ageing patients.

Since June 2008, Activity Assistants (volunteers) have become a feature in the MAH wards. These Activity Assistants engage elderly patients in conversation, keep them up-to-date on current events, orient them if they’re confused, read with them, play board or card games and help set up for lunch.

The program, which is run in conjunction with the MAH Healthy Ageing Program, is coordinated by Occupational Therapist Stacey De Souza.

We want to help make a positive difference to patients’ experiences in the acute hospital setting.

Stacey De Souza,
Occupational Therapist

Volunteer Coordinator Kalie Gladwin said the volunteers involved in the program range in age from Gen Ys to Baby boomers.

They are all people who are enthusiastic about their involvement with the elderly patients.

Kalie Gladwin,
Volunteer Coordinator

One of the first volunteers to join the program was David Frank, who volunteers one morning a week for about four hours, spending time with the patients on Ward 9B.

David, who had previously volunteered on a palliative care ward in Sydney, said he was constantly buoyed by the positive response from patients and their relatives to him being around.

I am absolutely delighted to be part of the Healthy Ageing Program.

It’s about engaging patients—whether it’s talking about their favourite sport, listening to their life stories or simply holding their hand and spending some time with them.

David Frank,
Volunteer

All Activity Assistants involved in the program are given the necessary training and up-to-date information on patients to provide companionship in a relaxed, focused way.

Filed under: Adult

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