Helping bring a smile to patients

On-ward and on song, volunteers Sean Walsh, Margaret Gillespie and Morag Walsh brighten up lives
On-ward and on song, volunteers Sean Walsh, Margaret Gillespie and Morag Walsh brighten up lives

My wife Morag and I started volunteering one day a week with the on-ward service at Falkirk Community Hospital last November.

And we enjoyed it so much we now do two days.

I’ve met some real characters and have enjoyed talking to them and listening to their life stories

This all started from seeing a leaflet in the cafe at Falkirk community hospital.

We both enjoy interacting with the patients and think we get as much from doing this as they seem to. They love my sense of humour and friendly banter. 

There was certainly lots of laughter when I was a Leprechaun on St Patrick’s Day and when I helped bring some Christmas cheer to the ward as Santa.

When people think of Royal Voluntary Service their first thought is probably of hospital cafes.

There are still cafés and trolley services at both Falkirk Community Hospital and Forth Valley Royal Hospital but I would like to make people aware of other volunteer opportunities.

Volunteers with the on-ward service support patients during a stay in hospital by popping in for 
a chat or organising activities including music and games.

Individuals will have different strengths and while some people like to sit and have a chat.I enjoy taking along my guitar and having a sing-a-long session in the music room or assisting with drawing and painting.

Some ladies like Morag to paint their nails or they will have a hand massage.

Some patients do not have regular visitors, particularly when family live far away, or friends can only visit in the evenings and at weekends.

As volunteers we play an important role in providing company but also in keeping minds active by reading, talking and playing games with patients.

One of our fellow volunteers, Avril, has been volunteering for just over a year.

She really enjoys the time she spends with the patients chatting, taking part in musical activities or 
taking them out of the ward for a little while to the cafe for a cuppa and a change of scenery.

Volunteering is rewarding and Avril agrees that is one of the highlights for her.

She said: “I’ve met some real characters over the last year and I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to them and listening to stories about their lives.”

It’s good to put a smile on their face.

It’s a job well worth doing and it would be nice to see more people volunteering and helping to give patients something more to look forward to.