I’ve been volunteering at Birmingham City Hospital, primarily at the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre.
My volunteer title is “2020 Response Volunteer” and my tasks include:
- Helping outside main doors to the Eye Centre and its Emergency Department, advising visitors of visiting restrictions and ensuring people are directed to the correct streams
- Making sure all visitors are adhering the social distancing roles and sanitise their hands when entering
- Arriving patients to the day centre clinic on the second floor at the reception desk on the computer
- Directing and accompanying patients to the x-ray department
The experience has been very enjoyable so far! Many of the patients being seen at the Eye Centre are elderly, can often be hard of hearing and of course are at greatest risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Our help as volunteers directing and supporting them is vitally important and feels very worthwhile. Many patients are often anxious upon entering the hospital due to obvious reasons, so we’re there to help calm and reassure them. Although we’re not directly involved in any COVID-19 care, the virus has affected the whole hospital and its patients, so I’m very keen to help any way I can.
Studying Dentistry at University, and therefore being used to being in an hospital environment, has been extremely useful. The most relevant aspect has been hand hygiene, as I know how to correctly clean my hands thoroughly and know when it is appropriate to do so. Patients have sometimes been confused on what correct protocol is (e.g. many have been sanitising their gloves!), so I’m able to support them with this. I’m very used to wearing gloves and masks for long periods of times also, which helped be acclimatise very quickly to the environment.
Members of staff have been very receptive to us volunteers. Many of them are off sick/self-isolating, and as a result the department is often understaffed, so they’re very grateful for us being there and supporting. We try and help in any way we can to help the building run as smoothly as possible, including checking patients in and helping with filing paperwork behind the reception desk.