Janet Jukes is one of the new friendly faces that patients can expect to see in our Emergency Department.
Janet has stepped forward to become an Emergency Department volunteer after seeing an appeal made by Matron Denise Fraser last year.
She was already a volunteer for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust but had had experience of ED after having to come here with her late husband and, more recently, her late mother who had dementia.
The 73-year-old explained: “Because I had experience of ED from a patient and family point of view I knew that the role could really help the staff and visitors here.
“Some elderly people in particular have no-one to support them. They’re all on their own in a busy department and it’s better for them that there’s someone who can ask if they’re OK, keep them company, have a chat and get them a drink if they want one. The staff do a great job but their priority has to be dealing with the patients who need them most medically – we all understand that.
“I can also stay with people while their relatives or friends go off and get something to eat or make a phone call, or sometimes just want to nip to the toilet but don’t want to leave the patient on their own.”
Janet said having experience of a relative with dementia helped her in her ED volunteer role.
“I appreciate that patients with dementia can be really confused, anxious and disorientated and need things to be as calm as possible. ED now has a dementia champion who has done a lot of work around raising awareness and it’s something I’m very mindful of when I speak to people.
“I am enjoying being here; it took some getting used to as I needed to ask staff questions about where the blankets were and that type of thing and you don’t want to be “in the way” but they keep reassuring me. I would recommend other people volunteer in ED but they do need to realise that you are on your feet a lot, it is very busy and it might not suit everyone as you never know who is going to come through its door. But it suits me and I hope I’m helping in my own way!”
Patient Charlotte Morris, aged 85, said she had enjoyed talking to Janet during her time in the department.
“It’s a good idea to have these volunteers because it can be very lonely on your own and if you’ve got family they can’t always be here for you. We’ve had a nice chat while I’ve been waiting.”
Could you be an ED volunteer?
Budding volunteers will need to undergo a DBS check and attend an induction session to include mandatory health and safety training. They need to be friendly, reliable, a good communicator and listener, respect confidentiality and privacy and appreciate the range of needs of people seeking information and support.
If you’d like an informal chat about the role please contact the Voluntary Service on 01922 656689.