When patients who suffer from various forms of dementia, delirium or cognitive decline are admitted to hospital it can be an anxious and overwhelming experience. They can experience fear and confusion, particularly if those patients do not have a spouse, carer or family member with them.
At Cabrini we are introducing a program for specifically trained volunteers (many of them retired or part time nurses or healthcare workers) to give that extra needed support to our patients who are particularly vulnerable. The Acute Aged Care Volunteer Pilot Project has been developed by a specialist team at Cabrini, and has recently received funding from the Perpetual Trustees IMPACT round through Cabrini Foundation to launch at Cabrini Malvern.
‘Volunteers will support patients in two ways’ says Cabrini Nurse Director Medical Services Ian Campbell. ‘Firstly, they will provide emotional security through one to one person centred communication, and secondly they will provide practical assistance and delirium prevention strategies. This can range from massage, assisting patients with eating and drinking, encouraging gentle exercises, and engaging in appropriate reminiscence activities. It will also include promoting the wearing of visual and hearing aids and engaging in appropriate therapeutic activities like Cabrini’s music and arts therapies.’
The project is the first of its kind in Victoria, and welcome news for our existing nursing staff. ‘We know it can be an overwhelming experience for already frail patients to be admitted to hospital, where everything is different to what they are used to’ says Nurse Unit Manager Jamilla Simonsen. ‘Around 3pm-7pm is the time our frail patients begin to get quite fatigued and can become delirious, anxious and confused, so we are piloting the program for our volunteers to come in to give that extra personal support during those times.’
The program has generously been funded by Perpetual Trustees, and will hopefully become an ongoing program at Cabrini. ‘Perpetual Trustees have given us the chance to implement something which is really important for our ageing patients’ says Priyanka Wills, Trusts and Foundations Manager at Cabrini Foundation. ‘We know that a major holistic approach is required to truly improve the lives of the elderly in our care, and this grant has enabled us to provide that extra needed personal support outside of what we already offer in exceptional clinical care.’
If you know a business, trust or foundation which may be interested in supporting new programs and projects at Cabrini contact Cabrini Foundation Trusts and Foundations Manager Priyanka Willis on 03 9508 1407 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cabrini Foundation Corporate Partnerships Manager Rebecca Staple on 03 9508 1386 or at email@example.com.