What are On Ward Services

Our On Ward Service is about supporting patient care and the hospital experience for people who might not get visitors very often or would benefit from more time in conversation.

This might be because their family live far away or friends can only visit during the evenings and weekends. Older patients and those suffering from dementia are also likely to need extra support which could be accompanying them to another ward or for an X-ray.

These situations can be especially stressful when English is not the patient’s first language. Being able to speak to them in their mother tongue can help to alleviate any anxieties they might have.

The aim of your role as an On Ward volunteer is to make a patient’s stay in hospital as comfortable as possible - by offering them your friendliness, energy and resourcefulness throughout your time there. 

You may also help encourage patients to eat and drink to help their recovery.

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What are hospital On Ward Services from Royal Voluntary Service


How On Ward Services can make a difference

Patients who don’t have many visitors during a stay in hospital often feel very isolated, lonely and fed up. Even more so if English is not their first language.

By volunteering your talents and skills to help on a hospital ward, you can make someones stay a little easier and help them return home sooner and stronger, reducing the chances of re-admission.

Bed rest can accelerate muscle loss and increase feelings of loneliness and anxiety, so it’s important that patients stay active both physically and mentally.

As a volunteer in a hospital ward, you can help in a number of ways:

  • Leading chair-based interactive exercise sessions using music, balls and games
  • Keeping minds active by reading, chatting and playing games
  • Preparing patients for going home
  • Supporting and encouraging patients to eat and drink well
  • Providing companionship outside visiting hours
  • Bilingual and multilingual volunteers can help to support people by speaking to them in their own language

Simply being there for someone to distract them from hospital life and even make them smile, can be a huge help. As a volunteer in hospital wards, you’ll also help to take some of the pressure off the ward staff and be part of the NHS team.

It’s not just about the patients themselves, you can provide reassurance and comfort for patients’ families and friends too. Knowing that someone is spending time with their loved ones through the day can be a welcome weight off their minds.

You’ll also get to know how the wards operate, what the patients like and don’t like, and even the needs and wishes of their families.

On-Ward Services can happen any day of the week but weekends are especially helpful for patients without regular visitors. You can also help by becoming a hospital trolley volunteer.

Find out more about what you can expect
How hospital On Ward Services from Royal Voluntary Service make a difference


Helping your talent shine

Whether you have volunteered in a hospital before or it’s the first time that you’ve offered to volunteer your skills and talents, we know that you’ll need all the help and support you can get.

That’s why we make sure that all volunteers receive a full induction, so you can be confident that you’ll know exactly what’s expected of you when visiting patients.

This will include training as well as access to one-to-one guidance from an On Ward volunteer as and when you need it. They’ll be happy to share their knowledge, experience and a few of the hints and tips they’ve learnt along the way.

It’s important that you gain as much from your voluntary role as the people you come into contact with.

Our volunteers choose to join us in hospitals across the country for many different reasons, but ultimately we hope you’re able to share your talents and skills in a way that works for you.  

How hospital On Ward services from Royal Voluntary Service helps your talent shine
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