A number of our volunteers have been supporting the Chaplaincy Service, spending time with patients and comforting them during times of need.

There is a team of seven volunteers who cover a number of wards and departments throughout the week, supporting patients and visitors who are experiencing difficult times or perhaps entering end of life care.

Alyse Ross is one of those volunteers and amongst the first to offer the service, she said: “It’s not about pushing faith; It is about providing support to patients when they are at their most vulnerable, including spiritual support for those for whom faith is important.  The gift we can give is time, something our wonderful nursing teams don’t always have, and the opportunity to spend that time with those patients and allow them to talk.

“I began volunteering at a different hospital when I came across a poster about ward visits, and following interviews with the chaplain embarked on a ten week training programme . I volunteered there for four years before moving to the Chesterfield area. I had a reason to bring my husband in to Chesterfield Hospital and got talking to Colin who was the chaplain here at the time. I mentioned to him what I did at a previous hospital, he put me in touch with the volunteer team here and the rest is history.

“There are seven of us and I’m mainly based on Eastwood Ward, the stroke unit, whilst the others to spread out across the other wards between them. We will always introduce ourselves to the ward teams and ask if there is anyone who might need our support. If our help is needed then we’ll introduce ourselves to the patient and provide support in the most appropriate way, and a confidential listening ear when needed.

“I remember one lady who couldn’t stop crying so I asked if it would help if I sat with her a while. I just asked her that if she wasn’t in hospital, where would she like to be so she told me about how she used to teach English and write poetry. Well, I love poetry and write a little myself so we talked about that for a while and she stopped crying. Over several weekly visits we shared poems, stories, and prayer.  She told me a little about her life and I listened. It made such a difference to her to have someone to talk to who could take her mind away from what was happening to her and talk about something that gave her pleasure.

“Our nurses do an incredible job but they simply don’t have the time to offer that kind of service whereas I can sit with a patient for five minutes or two hours. I like to think that we offer time and company to complement the care and compassion of our clinical teams and hopefully what we do benefits both patients and ward staff.”

Alyse and her colleagues organised and delivered the Remembrance Day service on Eastwood ward for patients who couldn’t make it to the Chapel, as well as the Easter Services for patients and staff. The work they’ve done has been very well received by patients and ward teams and are a welcome presence.   They have been provided with a bleep so that they can be called upon to go to an area when needed.

Richard Ball is the Voluntary Services Manager, he said: “The team personifies the care values of this Trust in terms of how a patient would expect to be treated. They are empathetic, calm and compassionate, being there for our patients as well as our colleagues who, let’s not forget, also need a good ear from time to time. I’m so proud of the team for the way they put our patients at ease and give them that emotional care that can make such a difference to the way some patients recover. They’re a credit to the voluntary service and a credit to this hospital.”