Reconomy Contracts Manager, Kate Webster, talks about her experience volunteering on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis:
"I became a Ward Volunteer at Rowans Hospice on 15th April, shortly after my role was placed on furlough. As a Contracts Manager for construction customers, I conduct my role on-site and as the COVID-19 situation unfolded we were unable to carry out visits. I decided to become a volunteer to occupy myself during these difficult times. I live by myself, so I knew this was going to be tricky. Rowans Hospice is a charity providing free care and support to adults in our community who have life-limiting illnesses and their families.
Rowans is very close to my heart as my Grandmother and Aunty were admitted to the hospice over the years, so when it came to volunteering, it was the first place that came to mind. As a Ward Volunteer, you are the main help for the nurses. On a normal day, I assess the bed state and receive a handover from one of the nurses, they will advise who has been barriered (all patients who are admitted from hospital are treated as if they have COVID-19 until tests are received back as negative) and advise on dietary requirements.
The first thing I do is go around all the patients within the Hospice, ask them or their visitors if they would like drinks and replenish their water jugs. I make sure all trays are ready, including the barriered trays. Food is usually served 45 minutes after me attending the shift, I work with the kitchen staff to ensure all meals are taken to the patients in time and that the barriered patients are being taken their meals by the nurses, as they have to wear full PPE whilst in these particular rooms.
Whilst patients are eating, I prepare for the desserts - again handed to me from the kitchen staff and then delivered to patients. After all meals have been served and eaten, I collect all meals from the rooms and ensure everything is clean. When everything is cleared up, I usually go round and have a chat with the patients, who are extremely grateful for my help and even just for a little chat.
I have completed 50 hours of volunteering already since I started on 15th April. Something as little as what I'm doing is a massive help. I have already put myself down for several shifts in May and I cannot wait. Stay safe everyone!"