In these dark days being in hospital has really paid its price on some our the most vulnerable people in our society and those are receiving care and support from services. This pandemic has made people in our secure services feel even more isolated and alone with them being unable to see to their friends and family. For some of them the people they see monthly are our committed befrienders, who take the time to visit them. For one of those service users they have been hoping to share the news that they get to move on and wanted to tell their befriender it looked like this wasn’t going to happen due to the restrictions of lockdown. However with the support and massive efforts of staff like James in security and Val from the Family and Volunteering Team they made the visit happen with huge success, I shall leave Val to fill in you on the rest.
Nothing can be more important to a patient at Rampton than moving on but saying goodbye to his/her volunteer befriender is up there. So, what happens when the move happens during lockdown ?
AH has been visiting a patient for over 20 years and has become very important in his life so, when it was learnt that he was moving on the dilemma was, how to say goodbye in a meaningful way.
Virtual visits have been talked about for many years and this crisis with Covid-19 has been the catalyst and so plans were put in place for this to happen for the very first time.
The thought of the patient moving on without being able to say goodbye to AH in person was unthinkable, a line needs to be drawn for both of them because moving on means just that, the visits come to an end.
With the help of security, IT, the ward manager and the Family & Volunteer Support Team it was to be the day before he left but it was not an easy course of action and not without nail biting moments.
However, happen it did and to see the patients face when he saw AH on the screen was worth all the angst. He was so pleased to see her and tell her his news, he chatted as if she was in the room and even sang to her. It was emotional for them both as 20 + years of visiting almost every month has built up a strong rapport and it seemed like the end of an era for both of them.
He ended the visit and they had a virtual hug as an actual one was impossible and not allowed in normal circumstances.
They will never forget each other and their relationship is a testament to what a powerful effect having a volunteer befriender can have on a socially isolated patient.
We all wish the patient well in his new abode and trust it will be the positive move everyone involved hopes for.
Family & Volunteer Support Manager