Volunteers for the League of Friends have embraced a new opportunity – in a bid to support both patients and staff on the general medicine and rehabilitation ward at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH).

The new role – dubbed as Percy’s Pals – involves volunteers providing non-clinical support to specific patients who are identified by nurses.

Sheldon Ward at the Oswestry-based hospital supports general medicine, dementia, and rehabilitation for older patients and often sees individuals spending an extended periods of time in hospital before transitioning to care facilities or returning home.

Michelle Williams, Activities Coordinator on Sheldon Ward, said: “I was recognising a growing number of patients who were experiencing low spirits and morale due to not receiving visitors.

“I then reached out to the League of Friends for any suggestions they had which could involve volunteer support and enhance overall experience for these patients during their time in hospital.”

The Friends responded to this request by introducing Percy’s Pals – volunteers who are trained in safeguarding and dementia care, which was organised by Michelle and Anne Worrall, Adult Safeguarding Practitioner, to equip volunteers with the skills to safely communicate with and support dementia patients, ensuring appropriate levels of care.

Victoria Sugden, Charity Director, said: “We are delighted to be able to support patients on Sheldon Ward with our new volunteering opportunity – this role marks a valuable addition to the services we provide.

“The role is focused on being a positive opportunity for individuals to befriend patients, encouraging open conversations about hobbies and interests, while actively promoting fluid intake and identifying simple ways to enhance patient comfort.

“Thank you to Stans Supermarket in St Martins who generously contributed £200 to support this project, providing the initial supply of teabags for Percy’s Pals to use on the ward when encouraging fluid intake.

“Our Medical Illustration Team have also supported in designing a distinctive pin badge for the volunteers to proudly wear, upon completing their training and commencing their role.”

If you or someone you know could be interested in becoming a Percy’s Pal or supporting in another voluntary role, please reach out to a member of the Friends team at 01691 404401 or email Melanie.Bygrave@nhs.net directly.

Pictured: Melanie Bygrave, League of Friends Office Manager; Michelle Green, League of Friends volunteer and Michelle Williams, Activities Coordinator, with Dorothy Hunter, Sheldon Ward patient.