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23 October 2014

UH Bristol partners with RVS to support older patients

Older people's charity Royal Voluntary Service has partnered with University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) to launch a new suite of services to help older patients get better and return home sooner after a stay in hospital.

The charity is now looking for people in Bristol to give just a couple of hours a week to support these services. Volunteers will:-

  • work alongside hospital staff and existing hospital volunteers to help an older person work towards leaving hospital
  • or take part in a 'Home from Hospital' service to support older people after a stay in hospital,
  • or participate in a 'Good Neighbours' service to help older patients readjust to life at home.

The services, which will be offered at Bristol Royal Infirmary and South Bristol Community Hospital, are being funded using profits from the facilities currently run by Royal Voluntary Service volunteers at hospitals across Bristol.

Recent research conducted by Royal Voluntary Service found that older people supported by the charity's Home from Hospital service after a stay in hospital were 50 per cent less likely to be readmitted, compared to the national average - but more volunteers are needed to help more older people in the community.

Further research conducted by the charity also found that people who volunteer are happier, have an increased sense of wellbeing, and enjoy a better quality of life.

Laura Goringe, Royal Voluntary Service Locality Manager for Bristol, said: "These are really vital services which allow older people in Bristol to stay happy, healthy and independent. We know support such as that provided by our volunteers makes a massive difference to those who receive it. Our volunteers are fantastic and they really enjoy what they do; they get as much out of volunteering as they put in.

"We are calling on people in Bristol to be part of something amazing. Get in touch to find out more about volunteering so that we can help as many older people in the community as possible."

Dr Rachel Bradley, consultant in care of the elderly at UH Bristol, said: "I think this is a really exciting opportunity for volunteers to work together with health and social care professionals to help patients achieve their individual goals, get better sooner and support them at home. Volunteers can really help improve patients wellbeing and confidence at a time when many feel vulnerable and anxious."

Those who sign up can choose to dedicate as much or as little time to volunteering as they like. To find out more visit or contact Laura Goringe on 07736 825307.

Royal Voluntary Service supports over 100,000 older people each month to stay independent in their own homes for longer with tailor made solutions. Through its army of 35,000 volunteers, the charity runs services such as Good Neighbours (companionship), Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people. Royal Voluntary Service also provides practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward Befriending and Home from Hospital services.

UH Bristol continues to recruit volunteers to a range of roles including volunteers to befriend patients on wards and to support them at mealtimes; and volunteers to meet and greet patients and visitors to the hospital sites.  The Trust's mealtime volunteering programme has been recognised as an example of good practice in the innovative care of older people in an acute hospital setting.  If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering with the Trust then please see this link for more details.