Patients and visitors to Nenagh Hospital can now rely on having a PAL to help them with minor tasks that may need to be carried out.
UL Hospitals has introduced its patient liaison programme called PALS (Patient Advocacy Liaison Service) to Nenagh, with volunteers helping to improve the experience of patients and the public who use the facility.
Following a successful local media campaign, nine volunteers from in and around Nenagh were recruited for the PALS service in Nenagh. All volunteers underwent an interview, induction programme, reference checks and Garda vetting.
The first of the PALs were welcomed to the hospital on July 30, with the remaining volunteers being inducted by the August 24.
Volunteers’ service covers two sessions 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. They will work in pairs.
Volunteer and former Nenagh mayor, Virginia O’Dowd said: “Coming into a hospital can be daunting and disorientating if you don’t know where you are going. As a PALS volunteer in Nenagh Hospital I am there to help and put people at ease. It also gives me an opportunity to contribute positively to the experience of people who are often at their most vulnerable when attending hospital.”
The PALS programme was initiated in early 2014 by Miriam Mc McCarthy, then patient liaison manager, UHL, in liaison with Linda Leenane, CNM II at Nenagh Hospital.
Current patient liaison manager Catherine Hand said: “The PALS volunteer service at UHL has improved our patient experience hugely. Volunteers provide guidance and support to patients every day Monday to Friday. Patients and members of the public have expressed appreciation for the guidance and support offered to them. The extension of this service to Nenagh Hospital is really wonderful to see and is an excellent further enhancement of the care of patients and relatives there. We welcome our volunteers and wish them well in the role.”
Key PALS volunteer tasks include, being an ambassador for the Hospital, welcoming visitors to the hospital; offering assistance, assisting with way finding to various wards, clinics and departments; walking with hospital visitors to their location if necessary; requesting wheelchairs on behalf of patients; helping gather feedback on their experience in the Hospital; providing a mobile library service, and providing companionship to patients.
The HSE said that Nenagh Hospital hopes to recruit more volunteers in the near future. A successful patient liaison volunteer you need to be a good communicator, outgoing and be comfortable talking to people.
Volunteers provide an invaluable service to the people coming into hospital at what can often be an emotional time.
Volunteers are required to commit to just one 3 hour session per week either morning or afternoon and must be over 16 years of age, in good health and comfortable being on their feet for a few hours. If you are interested in getting more information about volunteering, please contact Catherine Hand on 061-482531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org