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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Northern Trust board hears from volunteers who gave up day jobs to help during pandemic

Two Northern Health and Social Care Trust workers have told how they swapped their day jobs for voluntary roles on the wards during the pandemic.

Speaking at a meeting of the Trust’s board meeting on Thursday, Kate, a communications officer, told members how she volunteered with the housekeeping team at Mid-Ulster.

Kate said that her shifts involved cleaning, stocking up and infection control.

“I am quite keen to get to know the organisation at all levels,” she said.

“My mother is a nurse. Our family is made up of health care professionals. I was keen to get into a hospital and see what is going on. Just to see how overwhelmed everybody is was an eye-opener.”

Meanwhile, Bernadette, a dietitian, responded to a request for a family liaison officer.

“It sounded like a very interesting call to help. The role consisted of opening communication channels between patients and their families. This frees up clinical staff to focus on clinical tasks.

“I have had a lot of appreciation from families and patients. It is a privilege to help patients in that vulnerable state and to just be able to provide that bit of reasurance and information.”

In her role, Bernadette could first meet patients at the Emergency Department and continue the link onto the ward.

“Often a patient comes in and you follow the family and patient to the ward. You have got continuity.

“It struck me that communication is at the heart of good care. This service has been one of the initiatives and services that the Trust has provided that prioritises the emotional needs of the patients.”

She went on to say that she is “grateful “to have had the opportunity to carry out the role.

Trust board members expressed their thanks and gratitude to the ladies for their participation in the scheme.


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