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Keeping patients connected at North Cumbria’s hospitals

While hospital visiting remains suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust is working to help keep patients and their families connected.

New volunteers have recently been recruited to the ‘Keeping Patients Connected’ project and the Trust is encouraging more people to apply to become a volunteer. The project aims to facilitate patients having virtual visits with their families and friends using iPads.

Nicole Cottingham, volunteer coordinator for Keeping Patients Connected, said: “The project aims to help our patients and their families but also we hope it will help take the pressure off busy ward staff.

“We have two new volunteers who have started on Elm A ward at the Cumberland Infirmary, one volunteer waiting to start on Eden Unit in Penrith and two volunteers waiting to start on Ward 4 at the West Cumberland Hospital.”

Keeping Patients Connected volunteer, Sarah Naismith, who has been working on Elm A stroke ward at the Cumberland Infirmary, said: “Volunteering has been very rewarding and has given me great insight into patients and families of patients who have had strokes.

“It has given me empathy and understanding and I have been told by both staff and patients that my support is greatly appreciated which means so much and confirms why I am doing the job.”

Nicole added: “In total there are 20 volunteers who have been recruited or are in the recruitment process and five new applicants who have just applied through NHS Jobs.

“We’re also working closely with Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service (Cumbria CVS) to advertise and recruit so hopefully we’ll be able to attract even more volunteers to apply in the near future.”

An information session for anyone who is considering becoming a volunteer is taking place on Friday 30th April from 11am to 12pm online via zoom.

For joining details please email: info@cumbriacvs.org.uk or call Cumbria CVS on 01768 800350.

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