St John of God Midland hospitals need volunteers for VITAL cognitive impairment program

VITAL volunteer Willemina Achterkamp is supporting patients at Midland hospitals. Picture: Supplied
VITAL volunteer Willemina Achterkamp is supporting patients at Midland hospitals. Picture: Supplied

HOSPITAL volunteers willing to provide comfort and support to patients with dementia are needed to help assist with recovery.

St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospital is introducing VITAL following a successful pilot program.

Volunteers provide patients with a friendly face, emotional support and practical assistance to patients with cognitive impairment such as dementia and delirium.

The program is based on a similar program in New South Wales, which found patients with cognitive impairment benefited from person-centred care and meaningful engagement.

Midland hospitals volunteer services co-ordinator Jenni Brown said the program showed one-on-one support and care helped reduce patients’ anxiety and distress levels when in an unfamiliar environment.

“The volunteers provide similar emotional security and care that a loved one or carer would provide to a patient,” Ms Brown said.

“Volunteers also provide practical assistance and delirium preventions strategies, such as encouraging gentle exercises and engaging in appropriate therapeutic activities.

“Feedback has been extremely positive since we launched the pilot last September.

“It also provides relatives of patients with peace of mind that their loved one is receiving care and engagement when they are unable to be with them.”

Patient recovery has improved through the program now being expanded to other wards.

To find out more or volunteer, email Midland.Volunteer@sjog.org.au or call 9462 5409.

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